Mapping resilience in my area – how would you go about it?

A little while back I shared a post where I attempted to make an assessment of how resilient an individual I am.

I based this spot of reflection around the emerging framework we have here at Camden around where people draw their strengths. These are essentially:

  • The people we know and have relationships with (social resilience)
  • The resources that we have access to (economic resilience)
  • Our mental and physical condition (health and wellbeing resilience)
  • Our surroundings (environmental resilience)
  • What we have learned (skills and experience resilience)

As I’ve said in the past, this is by no means a definitive way of looking at this; it just helps to frame one’s thinking on a topic that can become vast very very quickly!

On this note, i’ve been grappling with a problem. If I wanted a very quick snapshot of how resilient a locality was against this framework, how would I go about it? Some colleagues have looked at pooling stats for different areas around the framework themes, and while this is fascinating stuff, I feel it lacks both the immediacy of the moment (because data has time lags), and, well I guess a bit of humanity.

I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a mini-survey that we could rattle through quickly with people, but which would give a topline flavour of residents’ strengths against these themes. My proposed questions are as follows:

  1. If you needed help with a challenge in your life, how confident are you that you’d know someone who could and would help you out?
  2. If you received a significant unexpected bill, how confident are you that you’d be able to pay it without it having a big impact on your finances?
  3. If you were to suffer an injury or illness, to what extent would it have a negative impact on your day to day life?
  4. In your local area, how easily can you access all the things that you need in your day to day life?
  5. When a challenge arises in your life, how often do you feel you have the skills and experience to deal with this on your own?
  6. What is your postcode?

Ok, wording/tone/grammar/spelling aside – I’d be really grateful for thoughts on this. My ideal is to have a sort of heat map where you could see across a locality (a London borough in this instance) where different strengths/weaknesses lie, and in turn I guess shape where greater investment in local strengths could be of benefit.

But what do you think? Would something like this work? Have you got any ideas on variations/alternatives to the questions one could ask? Really interested in views on this, because i’m not 100% sold on my own proposals!

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8 Responses to Mapping resilience in my area – how would you go about it?

  1. Jeff Hopwood says:

    Hi Alex. The questions seem OK to me but the problem might lie with the format for answering them. Will it be on a scale of (say) 1 to 5 (for Q1 and Q2), where 1 is “very confident” and 5 is “not at all confident”? Is 5 choices the right number or might respondents want more choice, which would dilute your findings? Or could it be simpler with a 1 to 3 scale, somehow equal to yes/maybe/no?

    And do you need scope for the respondent to suggest solutions?

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    • Alex Kenmure says:

      Hey Jeff. Thanks for your thoughts. I’m often torn on the “scale” answering questions, largely because i feel it gives people to many options to cop out – and just what is the difference between “quite confident” and “very confident”? I’d much prefer Yes/No (not maybe though).

      My initial thinking wasn’t to capture solutions, but seeing this an exercise to provoke further investigation into resilience dynamics, why there might be deficits, and then on to suggested solutions.

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      • Jeff Hopwood says:

        Maybe it’s the smiley / neutral / sad face scale that you need?
        [Where’s the emoticons when you need them?]
        [Thinks – just used “emoticons” in public!]

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  2. Charis says:

    I much prefer the specific questions about bills or job problem than the generic ‘face a challenge ‘ ones as I think people might not ‘get’ it as much. I also think there might be value in asking (maybe after a series of the ‘could you cope with x’ questions?) who they’d turn to – family, friends, charities etc which might help pinpoint the gaps as well.

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    • Alex Kenmure says:

      You know you’re right. I keep starting focused then getting wooly a if a specific case study is too narrow, but I think your point is correct. The questions need to pass the “get it” test. Cheers for your thoughts.

      Alex

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  3. Trevor says:

    Alex, I am coming to your workshop soon so may have a different view then, but right now looking at your six questions there seem to be only two geography specific questions (4)In your local area and (6) Postcode and (4) is necessarily a bit fuzzy – arene’t the rest going to pick up mostly feelings of well (jhealth, social and financial) rather than actual resilience? Or is that whay you are trying to do?

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    • Alex Kenmure says:

      Hi Trevor. That is what we’re trying to do and our take is that a lot of that wider social/health/economic resilience actually contributes quite significantly to the other resilience conversations around how an area bounces back from a natural disaster say. I’m currently reading Judith Rodin’s The Resilience Dividend, and it’s quite fascinating to see how an individual/community that is resilient in how they approach day to day social challenges are also most adept at responding to significant local crises. I noticed you were down for next week and am very intrigued to see how you respond to the workshop and what crossover you see in your role/approach.

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  4. Laleh says:

    Hi Alex – I’m with Jeff. I wonder is if this lends itself to red, amber and green flagging or thumbs up, down or neutral hand. Reason I say this is I went to IBM and they had a tool that could count twitter traffic around finals day at Wimbledon.Tweets that were #Andy Murray were coloured differently to say another player etc. The most useful thing was to see colour aggregations, and then perhaps to repeat the snapshots. Will ask IT colleagues if they know if there is something out there that is relatively cheap and that could do this.

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