PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2015, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (1): 100-109.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2015.01.012

• Ecology and Sustainable Development • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Research progress and themes of geography on community resilience

GUO Yongrui1, ZHANG Jie2   

  1. 1. School of History Culture and Tourism, Jiangsu Normal University, Xuzhou 221116, Jiangsu, China;
    2. School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
  • Received:2014-08-01 Revised:2014-10-01 Online:2015-01-25 Published:2015-01-25
  • About author:10.11820/dlkxjz.2015.01.012

Abstract: Escalating conflicts among population, resource, and environment may have profound impacts on sustainable development. Thus, there is a renewed science and policy interest in the ability of society to cope with and positively adapt to crises and change. Resilience theory has emerged in recent years as a sustainable development paradigm to provide new perspectives on community development and socioeconomic system adjustments to a rapidly changing world. Resilience research has gone through three distinctive paradigms, from ‘ecological resilience’, ‘social-ecological resilience’, to the most recent focus on the resilience of human systems and communities referred to as ‘social resilience’. Existing studies on community resilience are mainly focused on the concept and definition of community resilience, factors that enable community resilience, and measurement methods for community resilience based on objective indicators and perception of various actors. However, there are four deficiencies in the existing community resilience research. First, a commonly accepted conceptual framework for understanding community resilience is yet to be developed. Second, there have been relatively more studies on rural communities but research on certain resource-dependent communities is very few. Third, there is more research on the implications of sudden-onset natural disasters for communities but not on other types of disasters and crises. Measurement methods for community resilience based on objective indicators are not very effective and adaptive for community capacity assessments. Previous studies have not formed a mature scale for community resilience assessments. Finally, there is a need for a much thorough analysis of mechanisms of influence of key factors that have impacts on community resilience. Further studies should strengthen the research on the formation mechanism and regional diversity of community resilience in several different types of communities. More attention should be paid to the dynamic process and factors that enable community resilience. We should commit to developing a more reliable and validated community resilience scale, one that more accurately reflects the concept of resilience. Given this situation, a more careful re-evaluation of indicators of community resilience is warranted.

Key words: community resilience, disaster, research themes of geography, sustainable development, vulnerability