We are living in a time of huge change. Extreme weather and disasters are experienced close to home and across the world with increasing regularity and severity due to climate driven disruption.
The effectiveness of traditional structures of power to look after our best interest are called into question with greater urgency than ever. There are reasons to feel hopeless, anxious and disillusioned. But hope emerges in unexpected places.
From Australia’s bush-fires, to Puerto Rico’s hurricane, or UK floods - when a crisis hits, stories of mass destruction and chaos often dominate the headlines. But in these situations we also often see the extraordinary power of communities coming together. When communities organise, this can challenge the status quo and traditional notions of power and expertise. It also demands new ways of organising and working together, from shared decision making and allocating resources to better use of assets already within communities, showing that social challenges so often need social solutions.
Our work seeks to show the possibilities for enabling community resilience in relation to emergencies, highlighting the trends on our horizon and organising modes for communities.
Support innovation: We back initiatives which seek to develop and test ideas for holistic, people powered emergency response. We work with partners to ensure rigorous research and evidence collection of all initiatives we back.
Explore the future: We explore potential futures, sharing resources and gaining feedback to provoke debate of the future conditions for innovation to thrive.
There is no doubt that communities coming together in times of crisis can be key to healing together and enabling a creative and adaptive recovery. But there are systemic tensions, the structures of emergency planning and management are traditionally based in a 'command and control' ethos. This provides little basis for enabling citizens to have greater say in shaping the issues which affect their lives and working collaboratively alongside public services. The route to achieving greater collaboration, involvement of citizens and recognition of community led initiatives, is complex and varied, with no one-size-fits-all solution. Our work seeks to help champion and support innovations in the community resilience field, highlight example structures of how communities organise and make change, and provoke debate of how we might work towards addressing future challenges.