Resilient Communities are the Foundations of a Resilient America.

Three – and a Half – Things I Think I Think About Community Resilience

No deep thoughts from me today; just three things touched lightly, and someone else’s deep thought – and since I strongly agree with it, I’ll take credit for half a thought.

1. Last week, the Energy Information Administration published data that show that natural gas is providing as much of our electricity as coal.


That increases the importance of safeguarding our natural gas infrastructure. Specifically, I think it means making sure that all of the natural gas lines that pass through LA, MS, and TN are earthquake-proof, because all would be impacted by a slippage along the New Madrid fault.

2. I read a nice article on work by Lisa Bowleg from Drexel, who is trying to determine what makes certain black men in Philadelphia more resilient. There are no real surprises – perseverance, learning from adversity, recognizing and then refocusing to address problems, creating supportive environments, and religion and spirituality. I think we don’t hear enough about guys like these in our information-crazed society. We don’t hear enough about the rural black teenager who works odd hours and drives many miles so he can get an associates degree and take a good job as a draftsmen. We don’t celebrate these small successes nearly enough, and too often wonder why there are failures.

3. I recently had the opportunity to review a draft of David Butler and Ward Sayre’s report on recovery from the BP oil spill. I’ll have a longer piece on it once the report is published. I think it has some of the best analyses of social networks I have ever seen. One of the important conclusions is that recovery from the oil spill was in many cases quite different than from Hurricane Katrina.

And a half. I read a summary of an excellent presentation by Jeremy Nowak (President of the William Penn Foundation). He gave a luncheon speech at a conference sponsored by the Federal Reserve Board of Philadelphia on Reinventing Older Communities: Building Resilient Cities. A fascinating talk that I endorse wholeheartedly, available at (,%20Opening%20Lunch%20Plenary&w=620&h=480) – except, of course, the Philly accent grates on a Southern ear!