Resilience Hubs


What is Resilience?

The State of Colorado defines resilience as “the ability of communities to rebound, positively adapt to, or thrive amidst changing conditions or challenges—including human-caused and natural disasters—and to maintain quality of life, healthy growth, durable systems, economic vitality, and conservation of resources for present and future generations.” According to the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN), “resilient communities enjoy a high quality of life, reliable systems, and economic vitality, and they conserve resources for present and future generations.”

The creation of resilience hubs and additional resilience resources will give residents places to organize and craft their ongoing response to localized issues related to climate change and improve public health. A network of resilience hubs and resources will increase the capacity of communities to not only survive and recover reliably and equitably from disasters, but also to thrive.  

What is a resilience hub?

Resiliency hubs are physical spaces that serve as community centers for education, services, and community capacity. They can enhance community resilience, reduce burdens on local emergency response teams, improve access to public health resources and services, and distribute resources and funding to priority communities and those that need them the most. Their key feature is that they strengthen against hazards to ensure continuous operations and to provide physical shelter and other resources during hazard events, however, they can serve their community on a daily basis in other ways. Resiliency hubs are not a ‘one-size fits all.’ They are flexible and scalable and accommodate communities based on their unique needs and priorities.

Resilience hubs serve communities in three operating conditions: normal (more than 99% of the time), disruption, and recovery. Existing buildings and spaces where community members already visit as trusted sources of information and support, such as schools, parks, malls, or cultural centers, can serve as resilience hubs before, during, and after climate events or other disasters. These facilities strengthen communities by coordinating resources, programs, and services including child care, health care, access to healthy food, economic development, workforce training centers, emergency response, safe and affordable housing, and social connections. Investing in these spaces and helping ensure they are affordable and accessible for all communities, especially low-income and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, is a key resilience strategy. They can also serve as both cooling and clean air centers.

Resilience hubs generally have five key components:

An image of a community center with the five resilience hub components called out:
Community Desire and Support:  A resilience hub can only be effective if community members actively engage in co-development
The Building: An existing well-used and well-trusted site (building) is the core of a resilience hub
Energy Systems: resilience hubs need to host cost-effective onsite power systems capable of reliably sustaining operations during an extended power outage
Community Uses: resilience hubs, defined and led in partnership with members of the community, should meet the unique needs of residents and organizations in that neighborhood
Resources to Meet Community Needs During Extreme Events: In addition to providing shelter and electricity, each resilience hub should maintain a supply and provide access to freshwater and resources such as food, ice, refrigeration, charging stations, basic medical supplies, and other supplies needed in the event of an emergency

  • Community desire and support
    • Local governments can strengthen relationships with community members to build trust. Ensuring community leaders and organizations are involved from the beginning and during the development process is crucial; a resilience hub can only be effective if community members are actively involved and supportive.
  • Physical infrastructure/trusted building
    • An existing well-used and trusted site/building is crucial - especially considering elements such as the condition of the physical building, ability to provide cooling and heating, clean air, and its potential for solar, storage, capacity for community members, ADA accessibility, etc. 
  • Resources to meet community needs during extreme events
    • In addition to providing shelter and electricity, resilience hubs should be equipped with food, refrigeration, basic medical supplies, and other emergency supplies. Some resilience hubs take this further and develop a place to grow fresh food or offer education on responding to hazards. Partnerships across different sectors including emergency management, resiliency, public health, planning, parks and recreation, transportation, housing, and community based organizations are important for success.
  • Energy systems
    • Resilience hubs’ ability to withstand a power outage or extreme weather is key. Most hubs should be able to respond to an outage of 72 hours. The ideal resilience hub has sufficient renewable energy sources, backup generators, battery storage, and controllers to support dispatching energy where needed.
  • Community uses
    • Finally, resilience hubs should operate as community-centered spaces during non-emergencies – hosting educational events, access to health services, job trainings, and more. Having safe and accessible transportation, including biking, walking, rolling, and public transit routes is vital for community members to access them easily and conveniently. 

National Examples of Resilience Hubs

The below examples range from fully integrated resilience hubs to meeting some of the above components. While all resilience hubs are unique, the most effective and well-positioned to support communities are those that meet all five components.

Petersburg, VA Resilience Hub: 

  • Serves as a multipurpose community center, as well as the headquarters of two environmental justice organizations
  • The center is open daily, and hosts classes/trainings, is home to a full-service restaurant, and is a trusted gathering space for the community.
  • The retrofit of this community center included adding solar and battery storage, ensuring resilient backup power in the case of emergencies.
    Supported with technical assistance through Clean Energy Center and funded through philanthropic grants

Washington, D.C - F.H. Faunteroy Community Enrichment Center:

  • Trusted community center secured Department of Energy (DOE) funding for solar, storage, and microgrid controller to enhance resilience in Ward 7, which is a traditionally underserved community in the District at high risk of climate impacts.
  • The center provides many services that build community resilience, including youth programming, environmental education, workforce development and community outreach.  It is also located on the first floor of a multifamily affordable housing building
  • Supported with technical assistance and coalition support via local government and regional community groups

Los Angeles, CA - Boyle Heights:

  • Nonprofit Climate Resolve partnered with the Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory to create a model resilience hub
  • Retrofitted for earthquakes and outfitted with backup power, heating and cooling, drought tolerant landscaping.
  • Offers bilingual support to residents and has strong connections to the Indigenous community.

Resilience Hubs in Colorado

The concept and construction of resilience hubs are beginning to take off in Colorado. The following resilience hubs, which are all still under development, have been funded through the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) Climate Resilience Challenge. These projects don’t necessarily meet all five components of resilience hubs; some are led by government agencies rather than communities. This is not an exhaustive list; there are other resilience hubs in Colorado not captured here. 

Fort Collins, CO - Northside Aztlan Community Center:

  • Solar/storage microgrid installed at local rec/community Center, designed to provide backup power during the fire season to enable the center to host base operations for first responders. Collaboration between the City of Fort Collins and their municipal utility
  • LEED Gold, net zero rec center located near at-risk populations
  • Tree canopy to help provide shade, cooling, and reduce urban heat island

Louisville Rec & Senior Center Resiliency Hub:

  • Serves as a community hub offering daily meals & preschool services for traditionally marginalized populations
  • Includes ground-mounted solar agrivoltaics and EV charging infrastructure

Denver Climate Resilience Hub:

  • Recreation center & emergency shelter which will support food, heating/cooling, medical services, migrant sheltering
  • Includes solar & battery on a carport

In Development:

The following resilience hub is currently in development, and is not funded by DOLA.  However, this is an example of a project meeting all five components of a resilience hub.

Loretto Heights Community Center (SE Denver):

  • Nonprofit Commún has been working since 2017 to secure the purchase of Machebeuf Hall, a 40,000 square foot building at the heart of the Loretto Heights campus
  • The student union and cafeteria building at this historic women’s college has been used as a community gathering space since its inception in 1951.
  • The nonprofit is working with Kaizen Food Rescue, Sheridan Rising Together for Equity, and the Southwest Denver community to bring this resilience hub to life - which will include office rental spaces, local food distribution, teen spaces, support services, food hall, a commercial kitchen, and more


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