Social networks are central to neighbourhood resilience.
Whether it is a shock–such as a severe ice storm that knocks out the power–or a longer term stress like Covid, it is our neighbours who are the first to offer help. We also know that our neighbours’ capacity to help will depend on the situation. Knowing your neighbours before shock happens could be vital for your mental health and physical safety.
Climate change is a slowly evolving emergency that will stress us in multiple ways. As with Covid, those among us who are struggling to manage on low incomes will be the most affected. But Covid has also shown that just about all of us depend on good connections to our neighbours and to our neighbourhoods.
Social Capital & Social Networks
Social capital is the shared values and trusted relationships that allow us to work together in a group to effectively achieve a common purpose. This could be a Neighbours Helping Neighbours program
Residents who work together in a group form a social network that can grow to include other meaningful and productive connections inside and outside of their neighbourhood.
|Improved mental health||Identify places where people can meet|
|Improved physical safety||Make those places safe and inviting|
|Stronger neighbourhoods||Identify local leaders who can invite more people|
|Strength of group voice influences support for local projects||Let the city know that this work is underway and ask for support|
This is a great neighbours helping neighbours ice-breaker tool for building the social networks that can respond to emergencies.
What CREW does
CREW’s approach to Social Networking raises awareness of local climate impacts and supports local action that prepares communities for climate impacts.
CREW volunteers connect with residents, who in turn become volunteers.
CREW volunteers connect with:
- Local agencies and organizations
- Faith Based Organizations
- Residents Associations
- Tenants Associations
- Apartment building management
- Political representatives
- City staff from Public Health, Social Development, Emergency Management & more
- Institutions (schools and libraries)
CREW in St James Town (Toronto)
CREW has been building leadership capacity and volunteer teams in this exceptionally diverse Toronto neighbourhood for more than two years.
From the City of Vancouver: TOOLKIT – Resilient Neighbourhoods Program
From Alberta: TOOLKIT – We’re Ready!
Building Resilient Neighbourhoods is a collaborative effort to help create more resilient communities and neighbourhoods in British Columbia
Seminal article on social networks & community resilience: Fixing Recovery: Social Capital in Post-Crisis Resilience by Daniel Aldrich (PDF)