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Meridian Institute

Community and Regional Resilience Institute (CARRI)

External Project Site: www.resilientus.org
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Related: Sustainability and Resilience

Meridian Institute plays two important roles relating to the Community and Regional Resilience Institute (CARRI). Since CARRI’s inception in 2007, Meridian staff has provided ongoing strategy development, process design, and facilitation support for CARRI’s mission to increase communities’ resilience to disruptions and crises of all kinds. Then in October 2011, Meridian’s strategic partnership with CARRI added a second role as CARRI moved its organizational home to Meridian Institute. From the beginning, Meridian staff have been integrally involved in all areas of CARRI’s work: convening national dialogues with leading stakeholders; identifying the scientific research base underlying community resilience; translating the best research and practical knowledge into useable tools for communities; working with communities to improve resilience; and supporting national, state, and local leaders in policy discussions.


In 2007, CARRI, with support from Meridian, began working with three partner communities—Gulfport, Mississippi; Memphis, Tennessee; and Charleston, South Carolina—to explore what it means to be a resilient community and to collaboratively devise a means of strengthening community resilience. From 2010 to 2011, Meridian assisted CARRI in convening the Community Resilience System Initiative (CRSI), a national collaborative effort to develop a system through which communities could improve their resilience and ultimately be rewarded for their efforts. Benefits range from strengthening social capital and mitigating risk by addressing chronic conditions to improving a community’s fire protection ratings and perhaps in the future securing insurance premium discounts due to participation in resilience-building efforts.


For the CRSI, CARRI convened four groups of stakeholders steeped in both the substance (e.g., community and economic development, emergency management, finance, government, hazards research, nonprofit management, risk management) and the process of community resilience building. These 150 researchers, community leaders, and business executives worked with CARRI to design, build, and refine a web-enabled process and support tools for American communities, called the Community Resilience System (CRS). In addition to facilitating two of the CRSI work groups and the overarching steering committee, Meridian was an integral part of the core management team devising and directing the overall CRSI project.

In September 2011, CARRI announced that seven leading communities had been selected to pilot the CRS. These communities are Anaheim, California; Anne Arundel County and Annapolis, Maryland; Charleston and the Tri-County Area, South Carolina; Gadsden, Alabama; Greenwich, Connecticut; the Mississippi Gulf Coast; and Mount Juliet, Tennessee. CARRI also released a report—Community Resilience System Initiative (CRSI) Steering Committee Final Report: A Roadmap to Increased Community Resilience—that makes the case for community resilience, explains the participatory process that led to the development of the CRS, and highlights features of the CRS that will help communities bolster their resilience to disasters of all kinds. 


In October 2011, CARRI left Oak Ridge National Laboratory and became a part of Meridian. This new phase of the CARRI/Meridian relationship is intended to leverage both organizations’ deep expertise in building collaborative foundations for resilience and stability and to assist CARRI as it transitions from being a program of a National Laboratory to its new status as part of a neutral, nongovernmental organization that supports communities in their resilience-building efforts and also works with state, regional, and national stakeholders to create incentives and support for community resilience. Meridian will continue to provide facilitation and strategic planning services to CARRI as it guides the newly announced leading communities through the CRS. CARRI and Meridian will also work to foster support for community resilience at the national level, by convening national stakeholders to develop incentives, technical assistance, and education and communication efforts that bolster community efforts.


To learn more about CARRI, visit www.ResilientUS.org.