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Meridian Institute

Community and Regional Resilience Institute (CARRI)

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

Meridian Institute plays two important roles relating to the Community and Regional Resilience Institute (CARRI). Since CARRI’s inception in 2007, Meridian staff have 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 expanded 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, and with support from Meridian, CARRI 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. Potential rewards – and incentives for resilience building – include 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 with expertise in both the process of community resilience building and the substance (e.g., community and economic development, emergency management, finance, government, hazards research, nonprofit management, risk management). Through these four groups, approximately 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). Meridian facilitated two of the CRSI work groups and the overarching steering committee and 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 can help communities build resilience to disasters of all kinds.

In October 2011, CARRI left Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where it had been housed, and became a part of Meridian. This new phase of the CARRI/Meridian relationship leverages both organizations’ deep expertise in building collaborative foundations for resilience and stability and creates new opportunities for CARRI 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. Since that time, CARRI and Meridian have worked to foster support for community resilience at the national level by convening stakeholders to develop incentives for community resilience and provide technical assistance, education and communication support that bolsters community efforts.

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