Resilience and Sustainability: Understanding Interconnections for Better Planning and Policy Formulation

Sustainability and resilience have become key scholarly focuses, especially in the context of climate change. While there is a broad body of literature exploring sustainability or resilience issues, only a handful of research (such as Zanotti et al. 2020) have examined the interconnections between resilience and sustainability.

The proposed presentation would be of interest to both scholars and practitioners. The presentation will first synthesize the literature elucidating the interconnections between resilience and sustainability. Drawing from data collected through 54 interviews and focus groups with stakeholders such as public officials, neighborhood associations, and residents in Dayton (OH), the presentation will collate the stakeholder perspectives and perceptions on resilience and sustainability. Lessons from Dayton could be transferable, especially in an urban context. The City endures impacts of economic decline, segregated neighborhoods, and many neighborhoods designated as food deserts. Dayton region also grapples with unpredictable weather events.

Synthesis of data indicate that the public officials hold rather conventional resilience perspectives such as the ability of urban habitats to endure a changing climate; dealing with flooding and droughts; and emergency planning for storms. Comparatively, residents describe resilience as a community property grounded in the ability to maintain the resources of the community and the ways that community needs are met (such as food, water, jobs, and energy) now and for the future. Resident perspectives highlight the importance of finding new ways to survive, be flexible, and thrive as a community, and the importance of strong social capital for both resilience and sustainability. The presentation would discuss implications of resident perspectives public officials could capitalize on and facilitate through better policies and strategies that could build resilience and advance sustainability at the same time.

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