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Measuring Community Resilience

Short Description

Table of Contents

Project Origin

The Gulf Research Program's Advisory Board has determined that the program will support some National Academies' projects over time that serve at least one of two purposes: (1) foundational activities that gather information that can help guide the program's own work; and, (2) activities of wide community interest that broadly serve an identified community and are relevant to the mission and goals of the Gulf Research Program.

This consensus study serves both purposes. The project will explore metrics for resilience used at a national level and identify strategies for measuring resilience at the community level. The project is foundational in that the findings and conclusions will directly inform the work of the Gulf Research Program on how to measure resilience and enhance or build resilience in Gulf coast communities. The report will also be of interest to a wide range of audiences, including community decision makers and community organizations; local, state, and federal agencies; practitioners; the private sector; the foundation and philanthropic community; the research community.

Statement of Task

An ad hoc committee under the auspices of the Office of Special Projects will conduct a study on effective ways to measure the resilience of a community to natural hazards and other disruptions. The report will identify knowledge gaps, research directions, and approaches that could be useful to a range of communities, including the Gulf Research Program's efforts to support the development of healthy and resilient coastal communities. Specifically, the committee will:

  • Document similarities and differences among approaches used by federal agencies and other organizations to measure resilience;  
  • Describe the methodologies used for quantitative and qualitative data collection and data analysis;  
  • Examine measurement work underway by organizations such as the Zurich Foundation, Rockefeller 100 Resilient Cities, The Nature Conservancy, NOAA, NIST, FEMA, federal cross-agency groups, or others, and:
    • comment on their different approaches;
    • identify common challenges or research needs related to measuring resilience; and, 
    • discuss applications for these or other approaches at the community level. 
  • Confer with community leaders and decision makers who have implemented resilience measures about the approaches, challenges, or successes they have encountered in measuring resilience in their respective communities; and 
  • Provide findings and recommendations on common approaches to measuring resilience that have shown success, ways to overcome the challenges of measuring resilience, and key issues for future programs to consider in measuring the resilience of a community.
Committee Members

Adm. Thad Allen (Co-Chair)
Executive Vice President
Booz Allen Hamilton

Dr. Gerald E. Galloway, Jr. (NAE) (Co-Chair)
Glenn L. Martin Institute Professor of Engineering
University of Maryland, College Park

Dr. Michael Beck
Lead Marine Scientist
The Nature Conservancy

Dr. Anita Chandra
Director, Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment
RAND Corporation

Ms. Erin Coryell
Program Officer
Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies

Dr. Susan Cutter
Carolina Distinguished Professor of Geography
University of South Carolina

Dr. Ann-Margaret Esnard
Distinguished University Professor, Department of Public Management and Policy
Georgia State University

Dr. Howard Frumkin
Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
University of Washington

Dr. Melanie Gall
College Professor, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Program
Arizona State University

Dr. Maureen Lichtveld (NAM)
Professor and Freeport McMoRan Chair of Environmental Policy
Tulane University

Dr. Carlos Martín
Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center
Urban Institute

Mr. Chris Poland (NAE)
Consulting Engineer
Chris D Poland Consulting Engineer

Dr. Liesel Ritchie
Associate Director, Natural Hazards Center
University of Colorado Boulder

Dr. Kathryn Sullivan (NAE)
Lindbergh Fellow in Aerospace History
Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum

Project Staff

Lauren Alexander Augustine, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Special Projects, and
Director, Resilient America Program

Charlene Milliken, Ph.D.
Study Director

Jamie Biglow
Research Associate


March 1-2, 2017:  First Committee Meeting
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
Keck Center
Washington, DC
  • Agenda
  • Panel:  How are other resilience programs measuring resilience?
    • Presentation from Mr. Steve Cauffman, Research Engineer, Community Resilience Program, National Institute of Standards and Technology
    • Presentation from Ms. Sandy Eslinger, Senior Research and Policy Analyst, Office for Coastal Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    • Presentation from Dr. Carlos Martin, Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center, Urban Institute
  • Meeting with the Study Sponsor
    • Presentation from Ms. Chris Elfring, Executive Director, Gulf Research Program, The National Academes of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
May 11, 2017:  Planning Meeting
Closed session for committee members only

June 20-21:  Community Meetings
Baton Rouge and New Orleans, LA; Gulfport and Waveland, MS
August 8-10, 2017:  Community Meetings
New York, NY
October 3, 2017:  Community Meeting with Representatives from Minot, ND
Videoconference call

October 16, 2017:  Meeting with Representatives from the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction
Videoconference call

October 19, 2017:  Meeting with Representatives from the United Nations Development Programme
Videoconference call

November 1-3, 2017:  Community Meetings
Rapid City, SD and Pine Ridge Reservation
November 13-14, 2017:  Committee Meeting

Closed session for committee members only

January 17-18, 2018:  Committee Meeting
Closed session for committee members only

April 26-27, 2018:  Committee Meeting
Closed session for committee members only

Study Sponsor

The Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Please visit the National Academies' Current Project System to
submit feedback on this study.**

**Public Comment: Any comments or material you submit to the committee, including your name and identifying information, will be listed in the Public Access File for the Committee on Measuring Community Resilience, in compliance with Section 15 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). By submitting comments, you acknowledge and agree that the National Academies will be authorized to use any such comments or submissions in the committee’s report or related materials in accordance with the institution’s Terms of Use Statement, which includes the granting of a Nonexclusive License.

This website contains unedited papers/verbatim presentations by individuals and is not an official report of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Opinions and statements included in this material are solely those of the individual authors. They have not been verified as accurate, nor do they necessarily represent the views of other meeting participants or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.


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