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The application of resilience assessment—resilience of what, to what, with what? A case study based on Caledon, Ontario, Canada

Wai Ting Liu, Alumna, Environment and Resource Studies Graduate Program, University of Waterloo


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Resilience assessment can be used to determine major issues, stakeholders, vulnerabilities, and opportunities of a social–ecological system to enhance resilience. A resilience assessment was conducted on the Town of Caledon, Ontario between 2010 and 2011 using the Resilience Assessment Workbook for Practitioners (version 1). The assessment explores the following three questions: Resilience of what? Resilience to what? Resilience with what? The answer to the first question describes the history, main issues, and stakeholders of the focal system. The answers to the remaining two questions describe potential resilience threats and assets, respectively. The assessment results include (1) identified resilience threats and assets of Caledon as a social–ecological system in the context of urban growth; (2) a cross-scalar study of Caledon in its ecological, social, and economic domains; (3) interviews with 26 community members on the topics of urban growth and resilience; and (4) recommendations for Caledon to enhance its resilience in face of urban growth pressures. The results reveal the significance of continual learning, engaged citizenship, and cross-scalar collaboration between governmental bodies. The assessment results also highlight some particular features that would enhance the resilience of Caledon, such as nurturing the health of agroecosystems, developing trade-off rules for conflict resolution, and treating low-impact urban development as an opportunity. This research provides a case study of resilience assessment of a community that undergoes a rural–urban divide. Emerging themes of resilience are identified. Research limitations and suggestions are presented at the end of this paper.

Key words

conflicting interests; resilience assessment; resilience assets and threats; urban growth

Copyright © 2014 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087