Sowing the seeds of resilience: Community perspectives
The term sustainability is one that has been critiqued as a buzzword which, although popular, holds very little meaning. The same is now being claimed with regard to the term resilience. This research seeks to understand community members’ interpretations of the terms resilience and community resilience in response to the Wellington City Council's adoption of a resilience focused outlook. These plans assert that building the city’s resilience is a collaborative responsibility, inclusive of both the community and Council. With a wealth of meanings connected to the term resilience, it is important to understand the communities’ understandings and expectations of the resilience building process. Joseph (2013) has critiqued the resilience literature, highlighting that it may be used as a way for governing institutions to reduce their responsibilities and instead put the responsibility of community resilience onto community members. As a second research focus, this study explores participants expectations of both their and the Council’s roles in this process. Using a case study of Wellington City community gardens, this research looks at how the current community led initiatives influence community resilience. Corroborating lessons learnt from pre-existing literature, participants drew from a range of meanings to define the word resilience. Understandings of the term community resilience were much more cohesive. Participants highlighted an appetite for driving the process of community resilience while designating a role characterised by support for the Wellington City Council. The case study of Wellington City community gardens exposed that the initiatives contribute to community resilience through the enhancement of bridging and linking social capital as well as through providing access to human resources, such as skills, knowledge and networks. Although community gardens also provided some physical resources i.e. produce, land, buildings, tools, etc., this area still requires further development.