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Building Community Disaster Resilience Through Private–Public Collaboration
nication technologies. Some workshop participants spoke of the need for peer mentoring as a capacity-building strategy, but other strategies, such as personnel exchanges across sectors and new training experiences for government officials, also need to be assessed.
LEARNING THROUGH SUPPORT OF COLLABORATION
Focus on research and demonstration projects that quantify risk and outcome metrics,enhance disaster resilience at the community level, and document best practices.
New efforts to support and nurture community-level resilience-focused private–public collaboration could include research and demonstration projects aimed at enhancing disaster resilience at the community level and documenting best practices. Project Impact was a major federal government initiative whose goal was the development of local partnership networks for risk and vulnerability assessments, disaster-mitigation projects, and public education (Witt and Morgan, 2002). In Project Impact, the federal government set general guidelines and provided funding to local communities, but it did not mandate how local programs should be organized, nor did it attempt to micromanage local project activities. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which funded Project Impact, also funded a series of formative evaluation studies whose findings are discussed in Chapter 3 of this report. The studies documented many aspects of program operations, including how programs were organized, the activities that were undertaken under the rubric of Project Impact, and the kinds of partnerships that were developed.
Recognizing that private–public partnership and broad community mobilization are needed to improve the disaster resilience of communities, DHS might sponsor a series of research and demonstration projects across the nation. The new projects could fully integrate research and practice, beginning with the initial phase of project development, and could be conceptualized as living laboratories that provide opportunities for both researchers and practitioners. Research could be designed and undertaken with the explicit goal of documenting the effectiveness of collaboration, the costs and benefits to collaborators, and the metrics for these variables. Both process- and outcome-related variables could be addressed. Longitudinal and comparative designs could be key elements in the research and demonstration projects.
Continuing collaboration between researchers and practitioners in diverse local resilience-building efforts offers the potential for the application of principles of adaptive management—applied widely in programs that address environmental problems other than disasters (Walters, 1986; Lee, 1993; Wise, 2006). Using an adaptive-management approach, program participants and their research collaborators determine measures to undertake, implement the measures, assess their effects, learn how to improve on the basis of the assessments, adjust programs accordingly, and then continue with the cycle of