Definitions of Resilience

As part of determining the principles of  community resilience I  decided it was important to first look at the different definitions of  resilience as they apply to disaster planning.  These definitions have been used to determine the  principles of   community resilience. This process was done at the beginning of the Directed Studies. This has been taken from:

Understanding and Applying the Concept of Community Disaster

Resilience: A capital-based approach

Joseph S. Mayunga

Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, Hazard Reduction & Recovery Center, Texas A&M University

( Please see article overview on resource page)

Definitions of  resilience as they apply to disasters









Resilience is the measure of a system’s or part of the system’s capacity to absorb and recover from occurrence of a hazardous






Resilience is the capacity to cope with unanticipated dangers after they have become manifest, learning to bounce back.



EMA, 1998



Resilience is a measure of how quickly a system recovers from failures.




Mileti, 1999





Local resiliency with regard to disasters means that a locale is able to withstand an extreme natural event without suffering devastating losses, damage, diminished productivity, or quality of life without a large amount of assistance from outside

the community.



Kulig, 1999




Community resilience is the ability of a community to not only deal with adversity but in doing so reach a high level of




Comfort, 1999


The capacity to adapt existing resources and skills to new systems and operating conditions.






Social resilience is the ability of groups or communities to cope with external stresses and disturbances as a result of social, political and environmental change.



Paton et al.,



Resilience describes an active process of self-righting, learned resourcefulness and growth — the ability to function psychologically at a level far greater than expected given the individual’s capabilities and previous experiences.




Buckle et al.,



Quality of people, communities, agencies, and infrastructure that reduce vulnerability. Not just the absence of vulnerability rather the capacity to prevent or mitigate loss and then secondly, if damage does occur to maintain normal condition as far as possible, and thirdly to manage recovery from the impact



Department of


services, 2000

The capacity of a group or organization to withstand loss or damage or to recover from the impact of an emergency or disaster. The higher the resilience, the less likely damage may be, and the faster and more effective recovery is likely to be.



Alwang et al.,




From the sociology literature, resilience is the ability to exploit opportunities and resist and recover from negative shocks.


Pelling, 2003


The ability of an actor to cope with or adapt to hazard stress


UNISDR, 2005








The capacity of a system, community or society potentially exposed to hazards to adapt, by resisting or changing in order to reach and maintain an acceptable level of functioning and structure. This is determined by the degree to which the social system is capable of organizing itself to increase this capacity for learning from past disasters for better future protection and to improve risk reduction measures.


Paton &

Johnston, 2006


Resilience is a measure of how well people and societies can adapt to a changed reality and capitalize on the new possibilities offered.


Plate, 2006



Resilience is the ability of a population to recover after an extreme event. The higher the resilience, the more a society is capable of recovery from disaster.




TISP, 2006




Disaster resilience refers to the capability to prevent or protect against significant multihazard threats and incidents, including terrorist attacks, and to expeditiously recover and reconstitute critical services with minimum damage to public safety and health, the economy, and national security.


Pendall et al.,




A person, society, ecosystem, or a city is resilient in the face of shock or stress when it returns to normal (i.e. equilibrium) rapidly afterward or at least does not easily get pushed into a new alternative equilibrium


Foster, 2006


Regional resilience is the ability of a region to anticipate, prepare for, respond to and recover from a disturbance