Community resilience updates, resources, and events from RAND

RAND Corporation: Focus on Community Resilience Newsletter

July 2012

Periodic updates on community resilience work at RAND

Taking Action

Podcast: Building Strong Communities Through Affordable Housing

Resilient Communities Podcast

In this episode, Heather Schwartz asks whether 11 cities' inclusionary zoning policies actually achieve the goal of social inclusion. This work is relevant to communities that are interested in retaining lower-income families who might otherwise be priced out of their high-cost housing markets.

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Does Inclusionary Zoning Provide Disadvantaged Children Access to Low-Poverty Schools and Neighborhoods?

residential zone

Inclusionary zoning (IZ) has become an increasingly popular tool for providing affordable housing in an economically integrative manner. IZ policies are intended to allow lower- and moderate-income households to buy or rent property in middle- and upper-income communities.

RAND examined 11 IZ programs across the U.S. to confirm if they provide recipients with access to low-poverty neighborhoods and residentially assign them to high-performing schools, thereby promoting the academic achievement and educational attainment of their children. Compared to other affordable housing programs, IZ programs provide their recipients with greater access to low-poverty neighborhoods and relatively low-poverty and high-performing schools. Care should be taken in crafting IZ program features, because they influence the degree to which IZ policies can increase the supply of affordable housing and expose recipients to low-poverty settings.

Read the Report

More From the Community Resilience Roadmap: Focus on Self-Sufficiency

Self-sufficiency is a critical component of community resilience and involves increasing the capacity of individuals, communities, or institutions to become more self-reliant. In the context of community resilience, the "self" can apply to the individual who stockpiles supplies, the household that develops an emergency plan, or the community that expects to manage without immediate external assistance following a disaster. Some strategies taken from lessons learned in other disaster experience include:

  • Encouraging both personal and community preparedness. Becoming educated on preparedness and disseminating educational materials from trainings to community members and neighborhood associations.
  • Promoting civic responsibility. Developing and disseminating messages that foster a sense of civic responsibility in responding to a disaster (e.g., public benefits of vaccination).
  • Fostering healthy bystander response. Developing and promoting programs that recognize the vital role citizens can and must play as "first responders" to help their own families and neighbors immediately following a disaster.
Read the Report

Tools & Resources

Why Aren't Americans Listening to Disaster Preparedness Messages?

girl filling water gallon

Four years after Hurricane Katrina, only slightly more than half of FEMA survey respondents reported that they had any kind of emergency preparedness kit in their homes. Other national surveys report similarly dismal findings. Why? Rather than promoting a strong and resilient nation, the current emphasis on individual preparedness has fostered public apathy and is based on certain false assumptions.

For example, experts and research suggest that:

  • preparedness messaging is mostly web-based, so the public has to look for information, rather than having it pushed out to them;
  • reading levels of most preparedness websites is much too high;
  • two-thirds of Americans don't believe that they will be on their own after a disaster; they think that first responders will arrive within 72 hours;
  • urging individuals to look out only for themselves undermines and undervalues the importance of community networks; and
  • focusing on stockpiling three days' worth of supplies ignores the fact that disaster recovery is a long process.

Future education and outreach should be based on real information about what does and does not work.

Read the Blog Post Read the Abstract

Enhancing Public Health Emergency Preparedness for Special Needs Populations: A Toolkit for State and Local Planning and Response

person using a wheelchair

Experiences from recent emergencies, such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, have shown that current emergency preparedness plans are inadequate to address the unique issues of special needs populations or traditionally "at risk" populations.

RAND developed a toolkit to assist state and local public health agencies improve their emergency preparedness activities. It includes potential strategies for addressing special needs, summaries of promising practices implemented in communities across the country, information on how to select one or more practices that will work in a specific community, information on how to determine whether a practice is working, and a web-based Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tool to identify and enumerate those with special needs in communities across the U.S.

Use the Toolkit

Frequently Asked Questions

How does addressing individual vulnerabilities contribute to an overall resilient community?

The presence of one or more vulnerabilities makes it more difficult for individuals to recover from disaster, even with the support of a case manager. These vulnerabilities include social and geographic isolation, limited access to transportation, poverty, disability, chronic disease, mental illness, and being an underinsured or uninsured homeowner. These at-risk or vulnerable populations are often the most isolated or disconnected from services pre-disaster.

Local organizations that serve these populations may be helpful as part of preparedness efforts to organize potential client information pre-disaster. Reconciling local organization data with FEMA data might improve the accuracy of client contact information and identify vulnerability hot spots. For example, documenting where there are residents with more than one vulnerability could be useful for determining where case management services are needed and for how long post-disaster, given the level of challenges.

Read the Report

Conferences & Events

L.A. County Community Disaster Resilience (LACCDR) Project Update

LACCDR, an effort to strengthen community resilience in Los Angeles, is entering its third year. LACCDR has conducted community forums, working groups, and community surveys to engage a broad array of community stakeholders—representing government agencies and community-based organizations—and to identify and develop strategies that bolster resilience. In June, the project held a community retreat to plan the demonstration project to test community resilience strategies identified by stakeholders during 2010-2012. Starting in the fall of 2012, a sample of L.A. neighborhoods will serve as demonstration communities and will implement the community resilience toolkit developed for the project.

Learn More About LACCDR

Get Involved

We want to hear from you! Share your ideas about building community resilience so that we can discuss your concerns in future issues of this newsletter or in the podcast. Contact us at

 Learn More on the Community Resilience Topic Page


This newsletter is a product of the RAND Gulf States Policy Institute and is made possible with support from the Charles M. and Mary D. Grant Foundation.

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