Knowing Your Own Community: The Nature of Human Communities

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					Knowing Your Own
   Community:

  The Nature of
Human Communities

     Session 21
Session Objectives

       Describe the social meaning of community
       Develop a realistic understanding of the nature of
        most communities
       Conceptualize communities as networks of
        interacting groups and organizations with
        conflicting goals
       Apply an understanding of human communities
        to emergency management and disaster
        response



Session 21                                                   2
 What Is A Community?

                    A Population?
                    A Neighborhood?
                    A Region?
                    A Governmental Unit?

             Is it a geographic unit?
                     …. a political one?
                           …. an economic one?
                                 …. a social unit?
Session 21                                           3
     Our concept of COMMUNITY assumes
        Geographic proximity
        Common natural environment
        Subject to same hazards



                But also :
                   Common interests
                   Sharing of values
                   Cooperation
                   Mutual support
Session 21                              4
      COMPOSED OF DIVERSE
          GROUPS AND
        ORGANIZATIONS

                      Political
                     Economic
                     Educational
                     Religious
                     Social
                     Families




Session 21                          5
..”knowing almost everyone on the street”




 “…common experiences, shared experiences”
Session 21                                   6
  Some Correlates With a
  Strong Sense of Community


  Stable population        Civic-minded churches

  High home ownership      Active associations

  Many live and work in    Shared concern for
      same area              neighborhood children
  Common spaces for        Safety and security
      socializing


Session 21                                           7
  Some Myths About
  Human Communities:

       Romantic Fallacy:
             Community as small town America

       Organizational Fallacy:
             Community as cohesive,
              goal oriented organization

Session 21                                     8
  Impediments To Strong
  Social Communities

                Population Mobility

              Rapid population growth

              Increasing diversity

              Rapid pace of life

              Lack of good land use planning

              Others?
Session 21                                      9
   Community as an
   Ecological Network
     Groups and organizations linked through exchange
      networks and member sharing
     Bonds are flexible and contingent

     Competition and conflict are the norm

     Inequalities are a major issue



Session 21                                         10
             Communities Today:

     Many       heterogeneous and diverse groups
     Each with own goals and competing interests
     Competition for scarce resources
     Conflict is the norm
     Inequalities in power and resources
     Common goals are abstract
     Cooperation is rare
             -- and requires effort and leadership

Session 21                                           11
             Government Plays
             Key Role
         Coordination
         Conflict resolution
         Protection of all interests
         Planning for the common good




Session 21                               12
                  To understand disasters it is not
        Hazard    enough to consider the nature of the
                  hazard itself



                                          Disasters result
                                          from the interaction
                      Disaster?           between the hazard
                                          and the nature of
                                          the community


                 The nature of the community, how it is
     Human       structured, how scarce resources are
    community    distributed will have as much to do
                 with the disaster, sometimes more,
                 than the nature of the agent itself

Session 21                                                       13
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN IN THE
       CONTEXT OF DISASTERS?
  Government expected to lead in bringing interests
      together
     NGOs often try to bring competing private and public
      interests together
     Business interests carry a lot of weight
     Vital to get institutions functioning
     Household recovery left to personal resources
     Minimal needs-based assistance
     Uneven recovery




Session 21                                                   14
  What defines a disaster-
  resistant community?

        Solid and diverse economic base
        Relative economic and social equity
        Proactive initiatives to help the most vulnerable
        Strong community institutions
        Good family support systems
        Good coordination among groups
        Effective leadership
        Effective government across jurisdictions
        Community awareness about hazards and mitigation
        Good land use planning

Session 21                                               15
             Disaster Resistant
             Communities are:

              Well-planned in relation to the natural
               and physical environment
              Products of holistic land use planning
              People-friendly
              Sustainable




Session 21                                               16
 What does that mean when
 disaster strikes?

  Recovery plans in place
  Networks in place at all
      levels
     Coordinating mechanisms
     Policies and practices
      facilitate family and kin
      assistance
     Most vulnerable identified
      and targeted for help
     All interested parties
      involved



Session 21                         17
THE BOTTOM LINE:

   Disaster-resistant communities
       are good places to live!


 It’s a quality of life issue.

				
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posted:11/23/2011
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