Connecting Experts & Communities for Resilience

Communities of all types – towns, cities, tribal nations, regional compacts, and more – face risks from climate variability and change, including changing patterns of extreme weather events, shifting growing seasons, more river and coastal flooding, less available water, and greater exposure to wildfires. They want and need to learn how to reduce these risks and build community resilience – to prepare for and recover from these stresses, minimize disruptions to daily life, and even reorganize to thrive in the face of changing conditions. A wealth of scientific information, data, and tools exists that could help manage these risks and integrate climate variability and change into a broad range of planning, engagement, and decision-making activities. However, many communities are often uncertain how to begin, what this information means for them, and where to turn for trustworthy advice. Smaller, isolated, or historically underserved communities especially want personalized technical assistance and to connect with experts who could help them understand their vulnerabilities and what future resilience might look like where they live.

To help meet this growing need, the Resilience Dialogues uses a professionally facilitated, online process to connect community leaders to a network of vetted national experts and helps them work together to understand risks and lay the groundwork for long-term resilience. These online discussions can clarify local risks and opportunities, share strategies that have worked in other communities, identify the most relevant and useful data, tools, and networks, and build shared commitment to future plans and actions.

The Resilience Dialogues is flexible enough to assist:

  • Local governments assessing vulnerability in their communities while promoting economic growth
  • Community organizations seeking to engage diverse voices in resilience planning
  • County managers looking for in-depth consultation on a focused topic
  • Urban planners seeking appropriate resources to plan for resilience 
  • Private sector stakeholders working to safeguard long-term infrastructure investments
  • Public health professionals examining health risks from weather and climate extremes

Regardless of how the conversation starts, the Resilience Dialogues process ultimately aims to include the full fabric of the community. 

Leveraging the Public and Private Sectors

The Resilience Dialogues is a public-private collaboration–it can connect communities with the most appropriate resources, whether from Federal agencies, regional networks, or the private sector. The Resilience Dialogues builds on recent Federal efforts, such as the Partnership for Resilience & Preparedness, the Climate Data Initiative, Climate Resilience Toolkit, and the National Climate Assessment. It also leverages nonprofit programs, including the Thriving Earth Exchange and the Community and Regional Resilience Institute.

The Resilience Dialogues is in Beta

The concept has been tested in a pilot program and is in the process of being perfected. We welcome collaborators committed to building community resilience as we continue to improve and expand this service.

Background

In March of 2016, community leaders from five U.S. communities (Coral Gables, FL; Dubuque, IA; Knoxville, TN; Minneapolis, MN; and the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) / Kansas City Metro Area) participated in a pilot version of the Resilience Dialogues. Scientists and leaders from more than 22 public and private organizations worked with these communities in a set of three dialogues. These dialogues helped each community define its resilience challenges, explore the economic, social and environmental impacts of increasing climate variability and change, and identify the resources it can use to address its unique challenges. Based on the successes and lessons learned from the pilots, the leadership team is now building the next version of the Resilience Dialogues.

This "Beta version" of the Resilience Dialogues launched in March 2017, when community leaders from Antioch, CA and Hallandale Beach, FL participated in the Resilience Dialogues. They were followed in April 2017 by East Lansing, MI and Savannah, GA. The final Beta Resilience Diaogues were held in May 2017 in Boynton Beach, FL; Bridgeport, CT; the Menominee Reservation; Mt. Shasta, CA; San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission; and Whitefish, MT.