Researchers Seeking Feedback on Rural Community Resilience

Rural residents are being asked to share their thoughts on what it takes to be a resilient rural community in a survey that is part of the Rural Community Resilience Project.

Residents of Prince George can look back to the wildfires of 2017, when more than 10,000 evacuees took refuge here, and be very proud of how the community rose to that challenge.

Around the province recently, not only have there been fires, but flooding which cut off the upper half of the province from the lower half as roads were washed out and recent snow storms across the province presented great challenges to those who were not used to it. all extreme weather.

How resilient are rural communities when challenged?

Claire Styffe, research coordinator of the Rural Community Resilience Project at UBC’s Center for Rural Health Research, wants to know and is asking people to help her by taking a survey.

At first, the research focused on how rural communities were faring during the pandemic, but over time and community consultations were conducted, the research team realized that not only communities were responding well to COVID-19, but so much more, Styffe added.

“We were doing this at the same time as the wildfires were going on and then the floods came, so we started looking at all of those factors as well and we pivoted a bit to look at rural resilience in a bigger picture,” said said Styffe. . “And in each community, the disruptions included different things.”

So they did field research and academic research to determine what might be associated with community resilience, then set up an advisory committee to determine what members of a community felt were important to consider and discuss. include in the survey.

The researchers built the survey with their input because there is no replacement for voices in the field, Styffe said.

“So working with the committee and our background research, we found a few things that we wanted to dig a little deeper to see if they’re associated with resilience,” she added.

The survey asks what people think of their community, if it can bounce back from tough times, is it a good place to live, and other basic questions like that.

“Then we ask specific questions about their perceptions of their community on different themes, including things like emergency preparedness, confidence in leadership, adequate healthcare resources, but then there was other things that were included specifically as a result of conversations with rural community members, so housing was a big issue,” Styffe said.

Having a sustainable community means having adequate housing available for all, she noted.

In the survey, people are asked if they think there is enough affordable housing, if they see housing as an investment or just a place to live, and includes a part of reconciliation as a request of the advisory committee because it was something that really affected them. and that’s something rural British Columbia really has to come to terms with, Styffe noted.

“Is this associated with resilience? Styffe asked. “Do people think it could be helpful to their community? Could it strengthen their community? And those are some of the things we could look at.

The research group did a small launch of the survey and are now looking to do a larger launch and that’s where area residents come in.

Obtaining more data and performing in-depth analyzes on what is actually associated with resilience can demonstrate what characteristics of a community come into play when it comes to resilience.

“And hopefully that way we can better understand what resilience looks like in British Columbia so that maybe we can come up with some policy recommendations and say okay, people in particularly resilient communities feel that X, Y and Z are happening, as people who are in communities that they don’t feel resilient are noticing that these concepts are missing and how can we try to make sure people have access to these things.”

To be part of this research, click on the survey link until February 27th.

The study is funded by the SPOR BC SUPPORT Unit and the principal investigator is Dr. Jude Kornelsen.

About Keneth T. Graves

Check Also

IIT Madras researchers identify barriers to rural communities’ access to off-farm employment

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) have identified barriers to entry of …