Resilience Hubs: Shifting Power to Communities and Increasing Community Capacity

This report describes an initiative of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) to encourage the creation of Resilience Hubs, which are defined as community-serving facilities meant to both support residents and coordinate resource distribution and services before, during or after a natural hazard event. While these are primarily meant to address vulnerability and risk, this report explains how Resilience Hubs can also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support social equity. The report draws on lessons from Washington, DC, and Baltimore, Maryland, two cities that are actively exploring the Resilience Hub concept. 

The paper defines the key components of Resilience Hubs, including:

  • Hubs are meant to be in well-trusted and well-utilized community facilities, and should serve the needs of the community more broadly than temporary emergency shelters do.
  • Community-based organization and leaders should be involved in developing Resilience Hubs from the beginning and should manage the Hubs once they are established.
  • Site considerations might include accessibility, physical safety (is it in the floodplain?), and the potential for on-site solar.
  • Hubs should be resourced to meet the needs of the community during an extreme event, meaning it must maintain food, water, and emergency supplies.
  • Hubs must be able to remain operational during an extended power outage, ideally relying on multiple types of energy generation such as solar and storage. 
  • Hubs should also serve as community centers where residents can access information, social support services, and other community resources. 

The paper emphasizes that Resilience Hubs should play a role in shifting power from government to residents and community-based organizations. Therefore, it is essential that community members and community-based organizations drive the design, site-selection, and management of Resilience Hubs. Community partners might include faith-based groups, advocacy groups, social service providers, and educators. Ideally, Resilience Hubs will be built collaboratively with local government partners so that they can leverage the expertise and capacity of local agencies ranging from emergency management, housing, health, and transportation. Private partners can also provide additional supports such as funding and job training resources. 


Publication Date: March 28, 2018

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User Comments:

  • May 15, 2018
    Felipe Floresca, Vice President at Emerald Cities Collaborative

    Resilience Hubs, as established by the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) encourages the creation of hubs to function as community centers and community-serving facilities in support of social equity. A white paper has established guidance for the development of a business plan template and case studies - to be developed in 2018 and ongoing basis.