Morcos Key

What Does a Portrait of Community Stress Look Like?

When communities face repeated shocks—environmental crises, poverty, racism, natural disasters, violent incidents, or persistent public health problems, such as the opioid crisis—stress accumulates over time. This affects community well-being from generation to generation and makes it harder to respond to future traumas. What can be done to break this cycle?

Morcos Key created this animation to depict community stress, its negative effects, and what could help communities respond to and recover from traumas.

Explore the research behind this piece Learn more about Morcos Key

The primary image is a collage of faces (including some personal photos from designer Jonathan Key) that represent the concept of community. “Collage is a powerful tool to bring seemingly disparate ideas and forms together,” said Key. “This collage is a portrait of the different voices, people and generations that shape a community.” The animation then highlights factors that allow stress to build in communities—often resulting in despair, disinvestment, and disparity—followed by the factors that can help communities respond, recover, and become more resilient over time.

More RAND Insights on Community Stress

Does a more stressful and frayed day-to-day environment make it harder for some communities to respond and recover from traumatic events? Could a better understanding of how stress builds in communities lead to more effective policies to confront it?

These questions are at the heart of a RAND study that examined whether and how stress accumulates in a community (similar to how it does in the human body). Based on their findings, the authors created a framework to help public health officials and other leaders mitigate stress levels in a community and promote greater overall health and well-being among residents.

  • Pedestrians crossing a city street, backlit by sunshine

    Report

    Conceptualizing Community Stress

    Understanding existing stress levels within a community can help inform how it responds to acute or traumatic events. RAND researchers outlined a framework to determine cumulative community stress and how it may affect public health and community resilience.

  • A divided community where one side is getting flooded, illustration by Meriel Waissman

    Essay

    Stress Accumulates in Marginalized Communities, Generation After Generation

    Psychologists and biologists have known for years that prolonged stress is toxic to the human body. A better understanding of how stress builds in communities—and the burden it puts on them—can lead to more effective policies to address it.

About Morcos Key

Portrait of Morcos Key

Morcos Key is the Brooklyn-based design studio of Jon(athan) Key and Wael Morcos. In their work, they often collaborate with arts and cultural institutions, nonprofits, and commercial enterprises in North America and the Middle East. Their goal is to create visual systems that demonstrate how thoughtful conversation and formal expression make for impactful design.

Learn more

Follow Morcos Key

Media Inquiries

artplusdata@rand.org

Explore More by Morcos Key