Community collaboration in response to crisis is the focus of a book edited by Bruce Goldstein, an associate professor in the Department of Planning and Design at the University of Colorado Denver.

The surge of collective energy after a traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, economic collapse or shocking acts of violence, is the narrative thread of “Collaborative Resilience: Moving Through Crisis to Opportunity.” As a professor at Virginia Tech in spring 2007, Goldstein got an up-close perspective on the healing process after the infamous campus massacre there.

“Has Virginia Tech recovered? I think the school has recovered, but not just from the passage of time,” Goldstein says. “The people had to intentionally unify in order to recover, heal and to function again. They had to face an act that attacked the essence of what the university is and does.”

The solidarity with which Blacksburg, Va., responded is representative of how other communities have recovered from stressful events. Drawing on recent work in the fields of planning and natural resource management, the book examines a range of efforts to enhance resilience through collaboration, describing communities that have survived and even thrived by building trust and interdependence.

These collaborative efforts include environmental assessment methods in Cozumel, Mexico; the governance of a “climate protected community” in  the Blackfoot Valley of Montana; fisheries management in Southeast Asia’s Mekong region; and the restoration of natural fire regimes in U.S. forests.

In addition to noting the many forms that collaboration can take — including concensus processes, learning networks, and truth and reconciliation commissions — Goldstein argues that collaborative resilience requires redefining the idea of resilience itself. A resilient system is not just discovered through good science; it emerges as a community debates and defines ecological and social features of the system and appropriate scales of activity. Poised between collaborative practice and resilience analysis, collaborative resilience is both a process and an outcome of collective engagement with social-ecological complexity.

Through this flexible process, “Collaborative Resilience” examines how transformative social change can and does occur — often outside the bounds of government and private sector efforts. The book has received widespread endorsements from leading scholars in the field of collaboration planning and social-ecological resilience studies.

The book “deals with an important and emergent theme — the contribution of community collaborative to building resilience and, ultimately, transformative social change,” Goldstein says.

For more information about “Collaborative Resilience” or to reach Goldstein, go to:

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