Team Baltimore chose “Designing, planning, and managing resilient cities: A conceptual framework” (Desouza, 2013) and “Discerning community resilience in disadvantaged communities in the context of violence and injury prevention” (Ahmed, 2014) as case studies. Both of the readings discuss different facets and effects of resiliency. Desouza et al discuss “resilience in terms of cities… the ability to absorb, adapt and respond to changes in an urban system.” Viewing resilience through the prism of this week’s theme of cohesive communities and reflecting on how it applies to Baltimore and Jonestown; we see that the many of the issues that we confront are due to the in ability to effectively respond to respond to previous changes in the urban system. As we work towards building a stronger more cohesive community, understanding how to create a resilient one is critical. This selection highlights the “four broad categories of stressors that a city needs to be resilient to – natural, technological, economic, and human.” (Desouza, 2013) The challenges that come with each one of those categories must be understood and planned for when attempting to build a stronger community.
In the second selection, Ahmed et al examined “neighbourhood cohesion and community hope; community structures and leadership and social supports; the ownership of a business and physical security; and the ownership of a business and social supports.” In some ways this reading moved from a city level discussion to a community or neighborhood level discussion of resiliency. The findings of this study confirmed some of the notions that we have about communities that are already cohered, but also had some surprising observations about what can occur in lower resource communities. For the former point we read that “length of residency in a community as a logical prerequisite for the development of supportive community structures and the organic emergence of leadership.” (Ahmed, 2014) For the latter “Income generated through small business [in lower resource settings] may, ironically, serve as a source of social division and so provoke distance from social networks.”(Ibid) The seemingly conflicted nature of these two issues means that concerted effort and plan must be established when building a community to make sure that it has the resources to be able to grow together.
Resilient communities are the cornerstone of being able to respond to shocks or crisis. In this module we learned about the extent to which that is helpful for helping residents and businesses thrive in the long-term. Applying this to the greater purpose of this class I have thought a lot about how to lay the groundwork to build the resiliency as the community grows. Integrating business and residents in communities that are rebuilding will be the key to helping communities be cohesive. We can take our cue from other parts of Baltimore that have been successful, Fells point, Canton and Fed Hill that have embraced the impact that building a resilient community can have.