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The community resilience challenge - a case study from Sweden
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1  The Centre for Climate & Safety, Karlstad University, Sweden


The research literature and the international frameworks of disaster risk reduction (DRR) (Hyogo and contemporary Sendai) stress the need for involving all scales and spheres of society. At the local level the necessity to involve the public in reducing vulnerabilities and building resilience is highlighted. The assumption is that community resilience can be created by applying a bottom-up approach to DRR. This entails proactive efforts to involve the public as a means to reinforce local communities’ capacity to prepare for, act on as well as recover from extreme events.

This paper presents an explorative study of the Swedish city of Örebro focusing on local actor’s efforts to involve the public in preventive DRR related to climate change risks with the explicit aim to create resilience. The perspective is that of leaders of this work in local government and civil society organizations and the method used is documents studies and interviews aiming at uncovering the attitudes towards the utility and challenges of involving the public and particularly in relation to groups that are considered especially vulnerable. The result is then discussed within the theoretical framework of community resilience developed and the utility of this framework in the Swedish context is assessed.

We find positive attitudes towards involving the public, primarily as a resource in emergency crisis management. Network-building and collaboration, with the aim to gain information about how people perceive their reality and to build knowledge about the needs of the public regarding information and support is considered important. We identify som constraints – related to communication, collaboration, knowledge, etc. – but also some opportunities – related to networks, voluntarism, connecting public and civil society actors, etc. – for creating community resilience. The results will help the development of theories of community resilience and reinforce practice.

Keywords: community resilience; disaster risk reduction; public participation; public engagement; vulnerability