Defining Resilience

In the most general sense, resilience is a capacity to withstand disruption, stress, catastrophe... What that means more specifically is different for every person, every household, neighborhood, community, and borough in this city.

As a goal, resilience applies to people as well as to the built environment of buildings, roads, parks, the MTA and other parts of the physical infrastructure of our city.

Various factors involved in psychological resilience include, but are not limited to (PBS, 2009):

  • Strong ties with family, friends & community
  • Positive self-image and self-confidence
  • Skills for problem solving and communication
  • Willingness to seek help & find resources
  • Healthy coping strategies
  • Volunteerism and a willingness to help others

Creating a capacity for psychological resilience can be achieved by, for example, getting involved in your community through volunteering or participating in local groups such as sports, community gardens, knitting clubs, or attending workshops at your branch of the Queens Library

Systems and infrastructure are considered resilient when they exhibit qualities such as (Orr, 1992):

  • A structure that is modular & dispersed
  • A hierarchy of components, loosely connected
  • Interconnected components
  • Short links
  • Redundancy
  • Simplicity

These ideas apply to creating resilient infrastructure across all levels of our built environment, from your home to, say, the New York City subway. Considering such qualities can be helpful when assessing your risk and taking steps to protect your property.

Above all, the most important thing about resilience is determining what it means for you and your community.

One of Edgemere Farm’s summer dinners. Image courtesy of Agnes Thor.

One of Edgemere Farm’s summer dinners. Image courtesy of Agnes Thor.