The JP Resiliency Measures Project is a group of residents working to measure the resiliency of JP. At the State of the Neighborhood Forum we will present measurements that reflect the resiliency of the Jamaica Plain Community to the expected shocks of oil shortages, climate change, and economic downturns.
The people involved in this project are all volunteers, with no funding, or any official standing. We came about through the work of JP New Economy Transition to start bottom up initiatives using the Transition Towns methodology. We are cheerfully doing our best.
Our hope is to spark conversation about the meaning of community resilience and to explore ways such resilience can be measured and improved in our neighborhood.
1 the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity:
2 the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness:
Definition of Community Resilience
The capability to anticipate risk, limit impact, and bounce back rapidly through survival, adaptability, evolution, and growth in the face of turbulent change (source).
What a community needs to be resilient are things like reliable local food supplies, renewable energy sources, affordable housing, and communal responsibility for the welfare of all members. The reasons to be resilient are because we live on a finite world, with finite resources, and a growing population. It is unrealistic to expect the continued availability of cheap oil to provide us with cheap transportation, food, and energy.
We started in October 2011, so these initial measures are just a beginning. We selected things that were easy to obtain data for. The intention is to report on them every year at this time, but because we are just starting, some of them will turn out to be not relevant or need refining or changing, and there are things that should be measured that are missing that will have to be added. It will be an adaptive process, which your feedback will make better.
Our intention is not to build an organization that measures resiliency. Measuring resiliency is not an end in itself. Improved resiliency is the end result.
We’ve focused on measuring just in our neighborhood, because it has a human scale. It is possible for a human mind to encompass that area and to think yes this applies to me. If we were to include all of Boston or the North East it becomes too difficult to see what difference changes make. Sometimes it is interesting to look at how JP is measuring up compared to other neighborhoods of Boston or other areas of the country, but such comparisons can also be distracting.