Keynote Speech

Community Resilience: Challenges, Requirements, and an Organizational Model

Vincenzo De Florio


vincenzo-de-florio The keynote speech of the workshop will be given by Dr. Vincenzo De Florio on community resilience.Vincenzo De Florio is a post-doctoral researcher with the PATS research group of the University of Antwerp and the iMinds research institute.

Abstract. An important challenge for human societies is that of mastering the complexity of Community Resilience, namely “the sustained ability of a community to utilize available resources to respond to, withstand, and recover from adverse situations”. The above concise definition puts the accent on an important requirement: a community’s ability to make use in an intelligent way of the available resources, both institutional and spontaneous, in order to match the complex evolution of the “significant multi-hazard threats” characterizing a crisis so as to achieve “minimum damage to public safety and health, the economy, and national security”. Failing to address such requirement exposes a community to extensive failures that are known to exacerbate the consequences of natural and human-induced crises. As a consequence, we experience today an urgent need to respond to the challenges of community resilience engineering. This problem and a prototypic solution constitute the topics of the present keynote speech. Questions addressed will include: How could we tap into the nearly unlimited sources of “social energy” of our societies? How to foster inter-organizational collaboration? How to avoid the exclusion of spontaneous non-institutional responders (so-called “shadow responders”)? How to model mutualistic relationships between responders of any type? And which forms of organization are best suited to play a role in the emergence of collective intelligent responses to crises? In this speech we will also introduce a model, called Fractal Social Organizations, and conjecture how said model may be considered as a first step towards the engineering of community resilient responses to crises and other social problems.