Resilient Communities

Community resilience is a measure of the sustained ability of a community to utilize available resources to respond to, withstand, and recover from adverse situations.

Some other definitions and descriptions of community resilience:

“The persistence of relationships within a system.” Holling, 1973

“The ability to respond to crises in ways that strengthen community bonds, resources, and the community's capacity to cope.” Chenoweth, 2001

“The investment of resources in the community[...]creates an upward spiral of increasing community ability to respond effectively to change, that is, it creates community resilience.” Magis, 2010

Resilient communities have rich connections that help them to withstand dramatic shifts due to climate change and economic disruptions. Community Solutions’ founder, Arthur Morgan, saw the strong and democratic small community as both the seedbed of virtues and an antidote to the ills of globalization. Beginning in 1940, Morgan and Community Solutions’ work helped inspire experimentation in land trusts, intentional communities, cooperatives and local currencies. Community remains the core of educational initiatives and Yellow Springs projects.

Our Solutions for Community Resilience:
Brett Joseph on Resilient Communities:

Leah Newton on cohousing:

Other resources for Community Resilience:

By connecting leaders, spreading solutions, and attracting investment toward local economies, BALLE advances the Localist Movement to create real prosperity for all.

Chenoweth, L., and D. Stehlik. 2001. Building resilient communities: Social work practice and rural Queensland. Australian Social Work, 54 (2):47–54.

Community and Regional Resilience Institute:
CARRI strengthens our national resilience by assisting communities in understanding their vulnerability, taking positive collective actions to limit the impact of disruptive crisis, and recovering rapidly from disaster of all kinds.

Fellowship for Intentional Community:
The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting cooperative culture. “Intentional communities” include ecovillages, cohousing, residential land trusts, income-sharing communes, student co-ops, spiritual communities, and other projects where people live together on the basis of explicit common values.

Holling, C. (1973). Resilience and stability of ecological systems. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 4, 1–23.

Institute for Social Ecology:
Social Ecology envisions a moral economy that moves beyond scarcity and hierarchy, toward a world that reharmonizes human communities with the natural world, while celebrating diversity, creativity and freedom.

Institute for Local Self-Reliance:
The Institute’s mission is to provide innovative strategies, working models and timely information to support environmentally sound and equitable community development.

Island Press, Urban Resilience Project:
URP works to imagine and inspire the sustainable, equitable, resilient cities of the future. We bring together leading thinkers with a broad range of expertise to generate and cross-pollinate ideas in a variety of media—books, articles, interviews, webinars, and educational courses.

Local Tools:
Local Tools, is a robust full-featured system for managing lending libraries for tools, kitchen goods, sporting goods, and more.

Local Futures:
Local Futures/International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the revitalization of cultural and biological diversity, and the strengthening of local communities and economies worldwide.

Magis, Kristen (2010). Community Resilience: An Indicator of Social Sustainability, Society & Natural Resources, 23:5, 401-416, DOI: 10.1080/08941920903305674

On the Commons:
On the Commons is a citizens’ network that highlights the importance of the commons in our lives, and promotes innovative commons-based solutions. aims to support building community resilience in a world of multiple emerging challenges: the decline of cheap energy, the depletion of critical resources like water, complex environmental crises like climate change and biodiversity loss, and the social and economic issues which are linked to these.

Resilience Alliance:
Established in 1999, the Resilience Alliance is an international, multidisciplinary. research organization that explores the dynamics of social-ecological systems.

Resilience Circles:
Resilience Circles are small groups where people come together to increase their personal security through learning, mutual aid, social action, and community support.

The Resilience Hub:
The Resilience Hub is a collaborative non-profit organization. Their mission is to build resilience at the personal, household and community levels while creating thriving examples of abundance based on ecological wisdom.

Transition Network:
Transition Network is a charitable organisation whose role is to inspire, encourage, connect, support and train communities as they self-organise around the Transition model, creating initiatives that rebuild resilience and reduce CO2 emissions.  

Transition US:
Transition US is a nonprofit organization that provides inspiration, encouragement, support, networking, and training for Transition Initiatives across the United States.