Developing Cross-Community Resilient Networks

Every year, disasters such as tornados, snowstorms, earthquakes, and floods, hit our local cities/towns. One such community, the city of Joplin, used their disaster as an opportunity to build cross-community resilient networks and turned to other fellow local communities for assistance. A deadly tornado hit the city of Joplin on May 22, 2011, killed 161 people and damaged the area by destroying buildings and homes. The Joplin communities fought back and, a year later, the recoveries were evident, but there was a still long road ahead to reach an ultimate recovery.

In March, 2012, a group of community leaders – bank executives, hospital administrators and church workers – from Joplin, Mo visited New Orleans to learn lessons from Hurricane Katrina survivors– what worked and what didn’t work – for their disaster recovery processes.[1] The trip was sponsored by Rebuild Joplin, a Not-for-Profit organization that aims Joplin’s residential recovery, which partnered with the St. Bernard Project that helped New Orleans to rebuild hundreds of homes. The goal was to share lessons learned. The partnership aimed to overcome geographic and cultural barriers to move rebuilding efforts forward through cross-community knowledge sharing.

Joplin also partnered with another town, Greensburg, KS, which successfully re-built the city after a tornado hit in 2007. In fall 2011, Joplin founded Greentown Joplin, partnering with Greensburg Greentown, to re-build the city as a sustainable city. Some of initial initiatives include

■  Provide information and consulting for those rebuilding

■  Launch a design contest for post-disaster model affordable housing

■  Set up the Resident Greenius (“Green Genius”) Skills Bank

■  Establish relationships with some of the largest rebuilding projects in Joplin[2]

The Joplin’s effort to build cross-community knowledge sharing networks with both Greensburg and New Orleans increases community resiliency. What do you think about Joplin’s initiatives? How can we foster such cross-community knowledge sharing networks? What are the challenges? How can these networks be designed?

Title: From Greensburg to Joplin

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