"Community Resilience" with Blake Poland

When and Where

Monday, November 23, 2020 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm


Imara Rolston, Confronting Anti-Black Racism unit, City of Toronto
Blake Poland, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, UofT
Anne Gloger, Centre for Connected Communities
Ismail Afrah, Local Champions Network & Regent Park Neighbourhood Association


Resilience to extreme weather, climate change, and other foreseen and unforeseen shocks is an integral component of healthy cities and communities, and one that is being increasingly addressed by public health, emergency preparedness and other city departments, as well as NGOs and civil society groups. While the need to connect the resilience-building initiatives emerging from civil society actors and formal government agencies and departments has been increasingly acknowledged, our understanding of how best to do this is still in its infancy. Building on prior work together a cross-sector team started to explore a new community-centred approach to resilience in 2019, a “Connected Communities Approach” (CCA).

With CIHR funding, the team undertook a literature review of community resilience. This work was well underway when COVID hit and laid bare the very inequities identified in both the City of Toronto’s Resilience Strategy and our literature review: Healthy & Resilient Cities: A Connected Community Approach.

In this presentation we outline the genesis of our work together, the crux of the issue around how citizens and formal institutions work together to build community-centred resilience, the essence of the Connected Community Approach and what it can contribute, and the experience of doing this work on the ground from the perspective of two Local Champions deeply engaged in grassroots leadership on issues that include food security, drawing also on preliminary results from a School of Cities funded study entitled “Connected Communities in a time of Physical Distancing: Community-led responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in the City of Toronto”.

Handout: Neighbourhood Resilience and the Connected Community Approach (C3, 2020)

Handout: The Connected Community Approach (C3, 2017)

Handout: Local Champions Local Food Distribution Recommendations (Toronto, 2020)

Signal Boost Podcast #5: Grassroots Work Within Complex Systems, with Ismail Afrah & Sarah Ali

Signal Boost Podcast #1: Leaning Into the Lessons, with Issaq Ahmed & Sureya Ibrahim

1-page project summaries for our two funded research projects:

  • Connected Communities in a time of Physical Distancing: Community-led responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic in City of Toronto (2020-2021)
  • Healthy and Resilient Cities: A Connected Community Approach (2019-2020)

This is a School of Cities Seminar Series "Building Resilience in Food and Health Supply Chains"

Supply chains are the primary societal infrastructure for the production, delivery, and recycling of goods and services. Though sometimes invisible, supply chains are the systems that ensure that flour is available in your grocery store, that hospitals have sufficient personal protective equipment, and that there are enough trained staff to administer medical tests, deliver babies, and check-out your groceries. While much of the effort in supply chains over the past 50 years has been to make them agile, fast, and cheap, there is a growing realization that supply chains must be able to adapt to disruptions from local events such as the inability for a plane to land due to weather to global changes such as the closing of the US-Canada border due to COVID-19.

This seminar series seeks to develop a multi-disciplinary understanding of resilient supply chains by examining two which are of critical importance to everyday life: food and health supply chains. The talks in this series look at these supply chains, both independently and together, through the inclusion of diverse speakers representing at least the following perspectives:

  • Supply Chain Optimization 
  • Northern and Remote Food and Health Security
  • Urban Food Systems
  • Systems of Food Production
  • Healthcare Systems

Register here

This is a School of Cities Seminar Series "Building Resilience in Food and Health Supply Chains"