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Neighborhoods and Communities

The neighborhood in an urban environment forms the most basic functional unit of larger cities. The physical structure of neighborhoods allows socio-economic relationships that “consist of social networks and interlocking layers of social networks” to exist. The older and more stable a neighborhood is, the larger and more resourceful social networks can become. “Both social control and support and public health and order depend on these complex structures of “strong and weak ties.” These ties are the basis of resilience for both the neighborhood itself and the larger municipality (Wallace and Wallace, 2008).

Section of the Lower 9th Ward served by Operation Blue RoofPages

Section of the Lower 9th Ward served by Operation Blue Roof

Urban communities are as dependent upon the “healthy functioning of neighborhoods as they are on municipal services because neighborhoods form an organization at the individual or family level and the municipality and metropolitan region” (Wallace and Wallace, 2008, 18).

Geis (2000) explores the concept of Disaster Resistant Communities (DRC’s) as the physical representation of the “safest possible community that we have the knowledge to design and build in a natural hazard context.” By “maximizing the application of principles and techniques of mitigation to development” of the built environment, communities can minimize their vulnerability to such events. “The DRC approach is based on the premise that it is impossible to have a truly ‘safe building’ without also having a safe overall community and region in which to build and support it” (Geis, 2000, 152).

Steel Reinforced Concrete House Survives, Community Dies.

Steel Reinforced Concrete House Survives, Community Dies.

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