Measuring Resilience in Marginalised Urban Communities: A South African Township Pilot Study

Justin Haley, Richard Heeks, Jean-Paul Van Belle

Research output: Working paper

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Marginalised urban communities need to build their resilience to environmental and social shocks and stressors. A first step in this process will be measuring the existing resilience strengths and weaknesses of such communities. Past approaches to this can appear constrained in their understanding of resilience, or may not convert resilience frameworks into quantified measures. This paper reports an initial pilot application of the RABIT (Resilience Benchmarking Assessment and Impact Toolkit) framework, which conceives resilience as nine attributes each with measurable markers. The framework was used to measure resilience of Masiphumelele, a South African township of formal and informal housing regularly disrupted by flood, fire, storms and violence. It found resilience strengths in self-organisation and scale of external connections; but weaknesses in robustness and equality. While the community is relatively good at the coping aspects of resilience such as response and recovery to shocks, it is poor at withstanding shocks and at transforming itself. The pilot drew from only a small evidence base; showed limited consideration of context, agency and power; and did not actualise the framework’s potential for identifying community resilience-building priorities. Future use of the framework could therefore seek to expand the size, scope and levels of its application.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationManchester
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Publication series

NameRABIT Working Papers
PublisherCentre for Digital Development

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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