Enhancing Public Resilience: A Community Approach

Anna Olofsson, Mikael Linnell, Catrin Johansson, Erika Wall, Susanna Öhman


The overall aim of the paper is to explore two key areas in crisis management: (a) the role of local communities in crisis preparedness and response, and (b) how to involve the citizens in this task.Specifically we ask: What areas are important to develop in order for public resilience to be enhanced? The study has a broad scope and utilizes a novel design since it takes four stakeholder perspectives into consideration: the perspectives of municipal safety coordinators, members of voluntary organizations, semiorganized individuals, and nonorganized individuals. In total 33 in-depth interviews were undertaken in three different Swedish municiplaities.Seven major themes related to enhanced public resilience were developed in the analytic process: a) Collaboration: formal and informal practices, b) Specific competences and general abilities, c) Collective efforts and individual self help, d) Education and empowerment, e) Traditional communication versus digital media, f) Individual motivation and involvement, and g) Generation and age. From these themes four policy-level recommendations aimed for civil servants and similar public authority representatives. The recommendations consist of four key words, or ‘The four In:s; Inclusive, Interested, Insistent, and Inventive’. The study is part of an extensive research project, Public Empowerment Policies for Crisis Management, funded as part of the European Community's Seventh Framework Program.

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