Preliminary model for assessing and improving societal resilience

People act to cope with disasters in a larger social context. For identifying solutions that enhance interactions between disaster managers and citizens ENGAGE develops a model to identify elements of this social context that can be targeted by these solutions.

To do so we need to decide what should and can be changed and what is context that we cannot be modified. Whereas it is for example possible to build up trust between disaster managers and citizens by changing the way information is shared, the general trust in authorities is not something that can be directly targeted in a crisis. Risk awareness and preparedness can as well be targeted, but the socio-economic resources they depend on are out of reach for the solutions ENGAGE intents to produce.

So, our model has an axis that ranges from contextual aspect that can and should not be targeted for enhancing societal resilience to target aspects that can be influenced by the type of solutions ENGAGE catalogues. We call this axis “capacity of influence”.

Nevertheless, we should also distinguish between what people do in a crisis and how they interact with first responders and authorities and what are elements that are defined by the way society is organized. Whereas, for example, being a woman or a man, being rich or poor, being a city dweller or a farmer are roles that exist before a crisis happens, what these people really do during the crisis may depend on more than these roles.

For this reason, our model has a second axis that show if we are interested in a situation or in the larger social context. This axis, we call “level of genericity”.

Both axes together form a matrix that can describe what matters in a given crises to improve societal resilience.


Copyright ENGAGE Project 2021