— Volume VI No. 3: September 2010 —

Building Resilient Communities: A Preliminary Framework for Assessment


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Patricia H. Longstaff

Patricia H. Longstaff is the David Levidow Professor of Communication Law and Policy at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications, and specializes in the business and public policy issues affecting the communications industry. She is a research associate at Harvard University's Center for Information Policy Research, where she works on issues of global communications policy. She is also a member of the U.S. State Department Advisory Committee on International Communications Policy, a member of the board of directors of the International Telecommunications Society, research associate of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University, and an associate of the Community and Regional Resilience Institute (CARRI), sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Her most recent book, The Communications Toolkit: How to Build or Regulate Any Communications Business, was published by MIT Press in 2002. She is a graduate of Harvard University (MPA) and Iowa University (JD, MA-Communications). Ms. Longstaff may be contacted at phlongst@syr.edu.

Nicholas J. Armstrong

Nicholas J. Armstrong is a research fellow at the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT) at Syracuse University. His current research centers on post-conflict security sector reform and institutional resilience. Before joining INSCT, Armstrong served for eight years as a U.S. Army officer, holding several leadership and staff assignments, including aide-de-camp to the deputy commanding general and speechwriter to the commanding general in the 10th Mountain Division. Armstrong’s military experience includes combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and peacekeeping duty in Bosnia. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the Maxwell School of Syracuse University (MPA, CAS-Security Studies). In addition to working full time for INSCT as a research fellow, Armstrong is pursuing a security-focused PhD in the Maxwell School's interdisciplinary social science doctoral program. Mr. Armstrong may be contacted at narmstro@maxwell.syr.edu.

Keli Perrin

Keli Perrin is the assistant director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT) at Syracuse University. She also serves as an adjunct professor at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. Before joining INSCT, she served for two years as law clerk to the Honorable David N. Hurd, United States District Judge for the Northern District of New York. Perrin and co-instructor, Maxwell Dean Mitchell Wallerstein, recently developed an interdisciplinary course, “Homeland Security: Federal Policy and Implementation Challenges,” which draws students pursuing degrees in international relations, public administration and law. She is a member of the New York State Emergency Manager's Association and has completed ICS-400 training. She is a graduate of SUNY Institute of Technology, Syracuse University College of Law (JD, magna cum laude) and the Maxwell School of Syracuse University (MPA). Ms. Perrin may be contacted at kaperrin@law.syr.edu.

Whitney May Parker

Whitney May Parker is a research fellow at the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT) at Syracuse University. Prior to joining INSCT, Parker spent four years in Washington, DC, working for non-profit international security research institutions. Most recently, she was director of business relations for the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a cutting-edge think tank recognized as the premier source for pragmatic national security policy recommendations. Prior to joining CNAS, she was director of communications at the Center for Defense Information (CDI) and World Security Institute (WSI). Parker holds a master’s degree in international relations from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, specializing in intercultural communication and negotiation, and a bachelor’s in political science, with a specialization in international relations and certification as a professional mediator, from Boise State University. Ms. Parker may be contacted at whitneyparker@gmail.com.

Matthew A. Hidek

Matthew A. Hidek is assistant professor in the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Cazenovia College. He is an Army veteran and former antiterrorism analyst, with extensive leadership and management experience from assignments in the military, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Homeland Security. He holds a PhD in social science from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and a master’s degree in community and regional planning from Temple University. His recently completed doctoral dissertation, funded by the National Science Foundation, examines the impact of military-based doctrine and technologies on post-9/11 urban security and governance systems. Dr. Hidek may be contacted at mahidek@cazenovia.edu.

There is a growing need in the fields of homeland security and disaster management for a comprehensive, yet useful approach to building resilient communities. This article moves beyond the ongoing debate over definitions and presents a preliminary framework for assessing community resilience. Pulling from an interdisciplinary body of theoretical and policy-oriented literature, the authors provide a definition of resilience and develop a theory of community resilience as a function of resource robustness and adaptive capacity. Moving forward, the article develops the groundwork for further operationalization of resilience attributes according to five key community subsystems: ecological, economic, physical infrastructure, civil society, and governance. Through the examination of each community subsystem, a preliminary, community-based, resilience assessment framework is provided for continued development and refinement. When fully developed, the framework will serve as tool for guiding planning and allocating resources. About the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT): The Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT) at Syracuse University is a research and academic center jointly sponsored by the College of Law and Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Directed by William C. Banks, INSCT leads a systematic, interdisciplinary approach to teaching, research, and public service focused on important national and global problems of security and terrorism. The Institute’s research portfolio is broad and deep, ranging from faculty-supervised student working papers and research reports, to significant articles and books for academic journals and presses, to sponsorship of major workshops and conferences designed to further a research agenda in security or terrorism. While all INSCT research advances knowledge in the field, many projects are conducted on behalf of or in consultation with agencies, municipalities, and other public entities, thus providing direct public service. INSCT also co-sponsors the Journal of National Security Law and Policy, the world’s only peer-reviewed journal devoted exclusively to issues of evolving security threats, state security, and the preservation of civil liberties. For more information, please see the INSCT homepage at www.insct.syr.edu.

Read full article.

Longstaff, Patricia H. et al. “Building Resilient Communities: A Preliminary Framework for Assessment.” Homeland Security Affairs 6, issue 3 (September 2010)