Measuring Community Resilience: The Role of the Community Rating System
Community resilience has become an important concern due to the increasing scale and frequency of natural and technological disasters. Although several frameworks have been introduced to measure resilience, there has been no systematic process that captures all the key sectors of a community. This paper introduces a holistic approach to measure community resilience by specifying the Human, Social, Physical, Natural, Financial and Political sectors of a community [labeled the six capitals (6Cs)] and characterizing four properties of resilience (4R) (robustness, resourcefulness, redundancy and rapidity). The 6C-4R framework is linked to the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) that rewards communities for adopting flood risk reduction activities using illustrative examples of resilience strategies adopted by communities and examining the challenges facing the city of New Orleans today after suffering severe losses from Hurricane Katrina. We conclude the paper with a case study of Cedar Rapids, Iowa that joined the CRS in 2010 following a severe flood in 2008. The community has recently undertaken several efforts to reduce future flood losses, notably higher regulatory standards, such as requiring buildings to be higher than the base flood elevation and acquisition and relocation of property to less flood prone areas. Although the CRS captures several sectors of a community, it lacks a measure of social vulnerabilities, which is an important element for community resilience. Future studies are needed to show how one can integrate measures of social vulnerabilities with the CRS for a more holistic view of community resilience.
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