From "Climate After Growth"
by Rob Hopkins and Asher Miller
In real terms, a resilient community is one that meets a growing proportion of the local economy’s needs for food, energy, building materials, and employment opportunities from as near as possible. It measures its progress in terms of broader indicators of well-being, rather than just economic performance. It has a high degree of democratic participation in decision-making—reflecting the true diversity of the community in all government and community institutions, including businesses. It offers a diversity of opportunities for learning and employment in the economy. It supports innovation and entrepreneurship. And it seeks to maximize the opportunities for “inward investment” (the community investing in itself)— particularly towards the financing of ongoing resilience-building enterprises.
Resilience is a rich and complex concept. It has roots in systems theory, and it has a variety of interpretations and applications including for ecosystems management, disaster preparedness, and even community planning. Our interpretation is based on the work of the Resilience Alliance, the leading scholarly body working on the resilience of social-ecological systems. In that field, resilience is commonly defined as the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and re-organize while undergoing change so as to still retain essentially the same function, structure, identity, and feedbacks.