Poleacovschi’s research suggests steps to increase shared resilience – even in unprecedented community challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic:
Strong public-private collaborations
Partnerships between public and private organizations make large-scale investment in infrastructure possible and help local business competitiveness and retention. Ideally, these partnerships are formalized, long-term and include continuous assessments of local industries’ and community members’ needs – and focus on quality of life.
Empower many stakeholders
Collaboration between public officials, like mayors and chambers of commerce, and empowering as many community stakeholders as possible is key to generating and working toward common goals. The more partners, the more shared knowledge, learning and impact.
Protect the most vulnerable
During community challenges, vulnerable populations are often most at risk. So, prioritize development strategies that address the most vulnerable by emphasizing community context and using local resources. Assuring that all citizens are protected is critical for preventing the amplification of inequalities during challenges – and inclusion in solutions builds local capacity and resilience.
Bridge between communities
In the midst of a challenge, communities rely on local bonds like family, friends and civic groups, but building connections with neighboring communities and institutions is needed for long-term recovery. Creating relationships with “different” organizations and communities creates a fluidity of ideas and resources that help protect all communities from future challenges.
“Of course, collaboration and decentralized power in place prior to a challenge is the best strategy to support community resilience, but these approaches are useful no matter when you start them. Encouraging the immediate development of these approaches after a challenge offers a hopeful trajectory for a community’s future,” said Poleacovschi, assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering.
Cristina Poleacovschi, assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering