Resilience and sustainability refer to a community’s ability to handle shocks (socioeconomic or environmental) while not over-consuming available resources or depriving people of their needs. A community requires both physical and socioeconomic infrastructure to thrive, including energy, water, businesses, healthy environments, and transportation.
Many communities are weak in one or more of these areas, and while higher education institutions may have new ideas for strengthening physical or intangible infrastructure, connecting with community leadership to share these ideas is unfortunately uncommon. At the same time, communities have their own rich histories, and the ideas of academia may not make sense, and may even actively harm, individual communities. Listening to local stories and understanding the current system is part of building a more resilient place.