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Neighbor to Neighbor -- The Downtown Solution: IPNTA's Guide to Community Healing

Community Resilience

Community resilience can be defined as the ability of communities to withstand ruptures and to pull through, often with greater strength. Community resilience following a traumatic event usually encompasses the following four themes(1):

  • Building community and enhancing social connectedness as a foundation for recovery. Community recovery begins with the reweaving of social connections that have been disrupted by traumatic events.... This includes strengthening the system of social support, coalition building, and information and resource sharing.(2)
  • Collectively telling the story of the community’s experience and response. An important part of the communal healing process is about having one’s story validated and a part of the collective story that emerges after a complex and horrible tragedy.
  • Re-establishing the rhythms and routines of life and engaging in collective healing rituals. The spontaneous neighborhood vigils, anniversary rituals, and community events marking seasonal changes and holidays become important times for communities to reconnect....(3)
  • Arriving at a positive vision of the future with renewed hope.... Many of the collective responses to 9/11 were attempts to reestablish hope in the future. One of the most important questions faced by communities after a catastrophe is, “how do we move from haunting memories of the tragedy to a vision of the future that incorporates the new realities that we are facing?”

(1) Jack Saul, Promoting Community Recovery in Downtown Manhattan, American Family Therapy Academy Annual Conference, June 2002.
(2) Judith Landau, Terror and Trauma: Enhancing Family and Community Connectedness to Access Resilience for Dealing with Trauma, American Family Therapy Academy Annual Conference, June, 2002.
(3) Mindy Fullilove, Summary of Conference, Together We Heal: Community Mobilization for Trauma Recovery, April, 2002.

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