D3: Crowdsourcing Communication to Inspire Adaptation

This post is part of our live blog series from the Resilient Cities 2015 congress. For more live blogs, please click here.

150615_D3Resilience is a difficult issue to communicate: the challenge is to generate just the correct amount and type of awareness and shock to motivate action at all levels, rather than generating resistance. The session entitled “Communicating resilience: Building community awareness and inspiring action” looked at this issue, highlighting both the problems and parts of the solution.

A key takeaway was that experiences at an individual or community level can be a powerful message for others, not only in terms of having been exposed to similar experiences but in terms of having the capacity to collaborate on the solution.

As Dr. Richard Friend from the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition noted, it is about creating space to allow dialogue and empowering people to articulate arguments. In a world where social media and crowdsourcing are playing a transformational role, resilience communication strategies are inevitably evolving.

Professors Kevin Hanna and Jon Corbert from the University of British Columbia, Canada, are building a web-based mapping tool to support adaptation awareness in Canada. They intend the tool to engage individuals and local governments, allowing them to tell their own stories. In other words, this is a platform where people can “crowdsource” their own data to inform, sensitize and even inspire others.

This is not the only initiative of its kind. It adds to the growing understanding that there is great value in thinking differently about communications: using social media and personal experiences as tools; promoting individuals and communities as communicators; and creating spaces that facilitate exchange, catalyse sensitization and foster collective action.