Abstract for: Engaging communities to make resilience an operational concept

Impacts due to climate change are increasing and continue to damage communities in the United States. The private and public sectors have proposed improving the resilience of communities as a solution to minimize these damages. Although multiple definitions of community resilience exist, there is not yet consensus on how to measure or operationalize it. Through comprehensive literature synthesis, we propose that resilience is built from community engagement in work motivated by climate disturbances and from knowledge gained from project experience. We present a dynamic model to investigate the interactions between people, projects created by climate disturbances, and community capital. With this model, we simulate building community resilience to a climate disturbance such as heavy precipitation and drought. We examine resilience when there is an internal community leader, opposition within the community, and an external response to mitigate the damages. We find that internal engagement to complete projects allows the community to respond faster to additional disturbances or disturbance-created projects. We propose that this impact-to-implementation time is a key component of an operational understanding of resiliency. We further use the dynamic model to identify key policy levers that may proactively close the planning to implementation gap before climate disturbances strike.