Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) Resilience Hubs

The Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) Resilience Hubs initiative is supporting the development of “hubs” that 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. Resilience hubs offer an approach to climate adaptation that shifts power to communities and residents, enhances communities’ capacity to adapt to climate impacts, and focuses on social equity. Building on the USDN Resilience Hubs White Paper, the Resilience Hub website provides the necessary resources to guide practitioners through the planning and implementation of resilience hub projects.

Three operating modes of service defined for hubs are based on providing optimal services before, during, and after climate disruptions:

  • Normal: Resilience hubs provide a home base for residents, businesses, and organizations to gather for workshops, events, meals, and training opportunities that benefit a range of community needs, including resilience.
  • Disruption: Although resilience hubs will function at “normal mode” most of the time, they are intended to also act as centers for preparedness, response, and recovery. In the event of a disruption, Hubs will switch from Normal Mode into reacting and responding to the disruption and will enhance operations to better support immediate community needs.
  • Recovery: After disruption, hubs are ideally intended to switch into Recovery Mode. Resilience hubs can play a critical role in post-disruption recovery and ongoing community needs.

Resilience hubs offer the opportunity for “centering equity” which is explained as the capacity to address broken governments systems - adopting corrective actions to counter inequality through shifting power to residents, and considering the everyday needs of communities to enhance their ability to adapt to climate impacts.

USDN also developed a Guide to Equitable Preparedness Planning which elaborates on these holistic approaches to social equity in adaptation planning.  

'Reframing and Restructuring'
 for climate resilience is explained as the opportunity to switch the approach of government processes and reframe projects to put the needs of frontline communities first, the opportunity to explore the synergies and intersectionality of the benefits of resilience hubs, and the opportunity to be proactive and to anticipate future climate impacts while also planning to accommodate future changes in technology.

USDN has modeled the capacity of resilience hubs, meeting Base, Optimal, and Ideal standards or criteria: 

  • Base models meet the minimum criteria for identifying as a resilience hub, including: strong community support and leadership, a site that is well-trusted, a building or set of buildings, resilient energy systems, resilient communications systems, and base programming and services that have been identified by the community.
  • Optimal models meet the minimum base requirements, along with expanded services and retrofits.
  • Ideal models meet both the base and optimal model criteria, as well as are being co-developed with community members and partners to include ambitious goals that provide year-round community benefit.



Publication Date: October 2019

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