New research paper discusses community resilience during Covid-19

Community resilience during Covid-19

Professor David Proverbs has collaborated with Wuhan University of Science and Technology (WUST) to co-author a new paper exploring community resilience during times of crisis, influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Shedding light on community resilience 

David, Associate Dean (International) in the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment, co-wrote The Influence of COVID-19 on Community Disaster Resilience with Wenping Xu, Associate Professor at WUST, who are long-standing partners of BCU and frequent collaborators with David.

The paper has arisen from the Covid-19 outbreak, which originated in Wuhan in December 2019.

“Global pandemics have seriously harmful effects on people’s physical health and mental wellbeing,” David explains.

“As communities are the first to be exposed to disasters, we thought we could contribute to the science by undertaking this research and shed light on how to support, develop and grow community resilience in the face of these pandemics.”

Identifying key factors

In order to inform their research, Proverbs and Xu designed and implemented a questionnaire survey involving 12,000 members of key community groups in Wuhan.

“We identified five dimensions of community resilience – social capital, economic capital, physical environment, demographic characteristics and institutional factors,” David reveals.

“The results show that the income level, vulnerability of the population and the built environment are the main factors that impact the resilience of communities affected by Covid-19.

“The study also confirmed that different communities in the same area have different levels of disaster resilience.

“In order to reduce the negative impacts of Covid-19, we must empower the community to develop the capability and capacity to prevent and resist disasters, including their ability to recover quickly from such events.

The research – funded by the National Natural Science Youth Foundation of China, the Foundation of Education Department of Hubei Province, and the Centre for Service Science and Engineering of WUST – will be developed further in the coming months.

Improving future planning and design

David, who is also part of the Water, Environment and Communities research group, is confident that the paper will make a positive difference.

“These findings provide useful guidance towards improving the future planning and design of urban cities and infrastructure,” he explains.

“We believe the results are expected to be useful to inform future decision-making and toward the long term, sustainable management of the risks posed by Covid-19.

“As such, the findings will be of much use to policy makers, planners, local authorities and stakeholders involved in responding to pandemics, such as the emergency services.”