Social Capital and Community Resilience Academic Article uri icon


  • Despite the ubiquity of disaster and the increasing toll in human lives and financial costs, much research and policy remain focused on physical infrastructurecentered approaches to such events. Governmental organizations such as the Department of Homeland Security, United States Federal Emergency Management Agency, United States Agency for International Development, and United Kingdoms Department for International Development continue to spend heavily on hardening levees, raising existing homes, and repairing damaged facilities despite evidence that social, not physical, infrastructure drives resilience. This article highlights the critical role of social capital and networks in disaster survival and recovery and lays out recent literature and evidence on the topic. We look at definitions of social capital, measurement and proxies, types of social capital, and mechanisms and application. The article concludes with concrete policy recommendations for disaster managers, government decision makers, and nongovernmental organizations for increasing resilience to catastrophe through strengthening social infrastructure at the community level.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 114.51

author list (cited authors)

  • Aldrich, D. P., & Meyer, M. A.

citation count

  • 1131

publication date

  • February 2015