Rowing against the tide: Making the case for community resilience

Published: December 2012 Publication Type: Publication

Authors: Lucia Caistor-Arendar, Nina Mguni

Community resilience is a term that is increasingly used in the policy sphere and yet there is a lack of understanding about what it really means in practice. With the long shadow of the recession still over us, and with it reduced public services, a concept that orientates the emphasis (and the cost) away from public service delivery and towards something more community-led has much appeal to policy makers.

Should the state get out of the way or step in and manage community response? Rowing Against the Tide sets out The Young Foundation’s definition of community resilience: what nourishes it, what acts as a barrier to its development and what role professionals and the state play in brokering or impeding community resilience.

We draw on observations in two neighbourhood areas: Roquetes in Barcelona, Spain and Lindängen in Malmö, Sweden. The challenges in these places resonate with many of the issues faced closer to home and the scenarios described will be familiar to policy makers working in the UK context. The report shows that community resilience is a powerful tool for enabling communities to thrive in difficult times but the idea that it requires little or no state intervention is an illusion.

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