Boulder, Colorado has suffered two devastating wildfires, a multi-year drought, and a historic flood, all in the last few years. Resilience is now a fundamental goal of city government. But what does that mean?


Resiliency is the ability of a community to survive, bounce back, and improve after suffering a disaster or crisis. For example, to prevent flood damage, Boulder left a nearby floodplain undeveloped. The area provided a buffer and protected the city when floodwaters rose. But Greg Guibert, Boulder’s Chief Resilience Officer, says resiliency also includes individual citizens.

Guibert: “Resilience ultimately is going to come down to the individual level. People are this unit that needs to be resilient. So we can develop all of these plans and all of these strategies within the city government, but if we’re not engaging the community and they don’t understand what resilience is, and they don’t take a part in it, then we’re not resilient ultimately.”

Guibert and his team are holding a series of community events to learn what citizens think should be done to make Boulder stronger. They’re learning that the community supports clean energy, affordable housing, and locally-sourced foods.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: Boulder, Colorado (source: Wikipedia).

More Resources
100 Resilient Cities: What Is Resilience?
100 Resilient Cities: Resilient Boulder
Building Resilience in Boulder County (video)

Lisa Palmer is a freelance journalist and a fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, SESYNC, in Annapolis, Md. Her writing covers the environment, energy, food security, agriculture,...