Resilience Hubs Can Help Communities Thrive—and Better Weather Disasters

Climate Change Is Now Driving Investments in Flood Resilience

flood resilience
Image credit: Buildings in York, England, damaged during flooding. The U.K. Flood Resilience Code of Practice provides operational guidance to tackle flooding head-on. Photo: Shutterstock

After a flood event, companies need to take into account both the short-term imperatives to get up and running quickly and the longer-term need to future-proof against a repeat event.

Consider two businesses in the U.K., both long subject to flooding, a risk that is only likely to increase as climate change progresses.

Company A, a well-known national retailer, sustained heavy flood damage over a number of winters. Its response each time was similar: File property insurance claims, undergo a somewhat contentious review with their insurer and, many months after flooding significantly slowed business, finish recovering back to the status quo.

Company B, a flood-exposed art gallery, was hit hard by floods in the winter of 2016, which caused its business to shut for six months while under repair. Financially, it took until 2018 to return to “normal.” The cost — both the lost revenue from being shut down for several months and of rebuilding — was daunting…


Resilience Hubs Can Help Communities Thrive—and Better Weather Disasters

Communities can be more resilient in responding to natural and other disasters if they put in place mechanisms to boost local capacity to recover, rebuild, and ultimately thrive. Baltimore and Minneapolis, for example, are among the cities now using or exploring what are known as resilience hubs to address gaps in services or resources in certain communities—both during and between disasters such as hurricanes, pandemics, or floods.

Created as partnerships between local governments and nongovernmental organizations, resilience hubs are typically housed in trusted, community-managed facilities, such as a church or civic center. The hubs are designed to strengthen relationships between governments and the people they serve, shift power to local residents to identify and drive solutions, and, longer term, address the existing health inequities that disasters highlight and exacerbate…


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