, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 297-315
Date: 11 Jan 2007

Locating social capital in resilient community-level emergency management

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Abstract

This paper distinguishes between two types of emergency management at the local scale—municipal government responsibilities and community-level initiatives. It argues that these are interdependent, but separate aspects of emergency management. Communities, whether or not tied to particular places, are posited as being key, but often overlooked resources in both proactive and reactive phases of emergency management. Of particular importance within communities are the social capital resources (networks of strong and weak ties) that may work to improve a community’s resilience to risks and hazards. Two cases studies, the 2003 electricity power blackout in the eastern parts of both Canada and the United States and the 2000 water-borne disaster in Walkerton are utilised to demonstrate the concepts developed in the paper.