Some interesting work is being done at Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies on measuring community resilience.
Why do some metropolitan areas “bounce back” from setbacks while others fail?
To answer this question, Dr. Kathryn Foster developed a Resilience Capacity Index which uses 12 equal-weighted factors in estimating a community’s ability to recover after a stress. Stresses can be in the form of single event (factory closing or severe storm) or chronic problems (such as economic decline or rapid growth).
What is interesting about this approach is the focus on social capital and infrastructure. Economic stability is certainly a factor, but education, governance, and community involvement are just as important.
In mapping out community resilience, it is somewhat surprising to note that resilient areas tend to be clustered in the Midwest and the Northeast.
According to the study, “Northeastern and Midwestern regions generally earn high scores for one or more indicators in each of the three categories of resilience, including regional affordability, health-insured, homeownership and metropolitan stability. In contrast, places that have experienced rapid population growth and considerable population churn, as characterizes many metros of the South and West, often earn low resilience scores particularly for several Community Connectivity indicators, including voter participation, homeownership and metropolitan stability.”
Here’s the map…