Alliance for National & Community Resilience, or ANCR — founded by International Code Council, U.S. Resiliency Council and Meridian Institute — provides communities a transparent, practical and commonsense metric to quickly and easily gauge their cross-sector resilience efforts.
A community is only as strong as its weakest link
Communities large and small, urban or rural, are made of interconnected systems supporting one another. Every day, each member of a community depends on the ability to use roads, access hospitals, get to work and school, receive mail and communicate with friends, family, colleagues, customers and clients.
Like a series of dominos, even small changes in one element can affect the cohesion and basic functioning of others. Severe disruptions caused by disaster, turbulence and change resonate across the whole community. No part of the community stands alone — the whole community suffers if any one part fails. A city with working lights cannot effectively operate if its streets are impassable. A business that survives a hurricane cannot thrive if banking networks have crashed. A household with running water cannot be sustained if grocery store shelves are bare. Every community needs all of its gears operating and working together to be resilient.
What is resilience?
Resilience, derived from the Latin “resalire” meaning to spring back, is the power or ability to return to original form, position; to recover readily from adversity. Resilience is about building strength and opportunity in the entire community across all aspects — the economy, the society and the infrastructure. It is about unleashing the expertise and innovative spirit within the business sector; building strong ties and exceptional quality of life within neighborhoods; and creating forward-looking, supportive community organizations. It is about making the whole community better, adaptive, more competitive, more robust and more productive.
Resilient communities are prepared for the unexpected, working to adapt to environmental changes and other environmental threats, ready to respond to emergencies and fiscally stable. Resilient communities are the best places to invest. They thrive and adapt to be more competitive and safer. When challenges arise, they come back quicker and stronger.
Cities, businesses and households need support to be able to effectively adapt to challenges
Communities range in size, population and demographics and face various economic priorities, environmental challenges, investment opportunities and financial constraints. Local, state and federal governments can encourage and assist communities as they seek to become more resilient, but communities need more than government alone to make the investments necessary to be truly resilient.
This is a job that calls for all hands on deck
Governments, private businesses, organizations, the faith-based community, individuals and families must all contribute to the effort. If all groups come together and invest the effort needed to increase resiliency, the whole community will save by doing things smarter and more effectively.
With understanding comes the drive to do better, fix problems and address challenges. Communities urgently need a way to understand how resilient they are. Currently, no systemic resiliency toolkit or benchmarking system exists to help a community measure its strengths and vulnerabilities, or how it can improve. ANCR is developing such a tool to support governments, businesses and people across the country.
Whole-community resilience benchmarks
The ANCR Community Resilience Benchmarks, or CRB, system will provide communities a transparent, practical and commonsense self-assessment tool to quickly and easily gauge their cross-sector resilience efforts. It will help communities face the challenges of the 21st century, from vast economic shifts to unprecedented environmental changes. The ANCR technical committee of renowned subject matter experts will first focus on creating benchmarks for buildings, water and energy, core functional areas for all communities.
The CRB system is intentionally cross-sector, encompassing elements such as communications, housing, water, food distribution, energy, waste management, finance, education, public health, transportation, public safety and business. This will consolidate existing assessments, certifications and research to serve as a useful, centralized tool to help make decisions to become more resilient based on consistent and comparable information. Communities, businesses, governments and people can utilize this tool to decide where to live, where to invest, what to prioritize and how to measure progress, seize opportunity and thrive.
The ANCR Approach
ANCR will collect and integrate the best ideas on measuring the resilience of each community system to form preliminary CRBs. A national workshop subsequently will convene leaders from multiple sectors to finalize the comprehensive CRB system and plan a path forward for further development and application of community resilience benchmarks.
Communities will receive the information needed to understand their resilience. All parts of a community — elected officials, business owners, infrastructure operators, health care providers, teachers and parents — can learn how to best work together so that no single element limits the potential of a whole community to thrive.
Article provided by the International Code Council.