Testing the application of a community resilience assessment: a case study of the Town of Huntsville, Ontario
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This research explored the application of a resilience assessment (RA) template in an Ontario community to facilitate sustainable community planning. Research and application of sustainable community planning that incorporates management of social and ecological resilience is relatively young territory that requires improved understanding and extension. The research goals were to critically examine the performance of the process used to perform the RA. This inquiry was considered a knowledge-generating evaluation that combined applied research and evaluation research to contribute to theoretical understanding and action. The RA template was field-tested using a single in-depth case study - the Town of Huntsville, Ontario. A mixture of qualitative methods was used to pilot and evaluate the RA, including: key informant interviews, online group discussions, focus groups, and secondary literature review. The process used to perform the RA was evaluated against four criteria that focused on the adequacy of data collection, participant diversity, participant empowerment, and utility for other communities. This research illuminated obstacles and shortcomings within the Resilience Alliance 2010 RA workbook and offered recommendations to improve the utility of the RA for communities and participants. The RA template tested in this thesis could be adapted for application in other communities, including small urban and rural communities and larger municipalities. The RA template would benefit from additional case study research.