On the theme of Social Capital and Social Connectedness for Resilience, the committee identified three topics as being particularly important for natural hazard mitigation and resilience: (1) inspiring communities to create and sustain social capital and connectedness, (2)
bolstering community-created digital and public spaces, and (3) building social capital through financial investment strategies.
On the first topic, more research is needed on how social capital and connectedness not only enhance resilience but how communities create and sustain them. Multiple stakeholders need to better understand these processes, from micro-communities to national governments and
international organizations, as well as communities of varying sizes and geographic locations. Efforts to build social capital and connectedness often result in co-benefits, which is also a current research gap.
On the second topic, digital and public spaces have become increasingly powerful tools in creating and sustaining social capital and connectedness. By enabling people to connect and self-organize before, during, and after disasters, these spaces serve as a means of
communication, motivation, and organization, with consequences for trust, relationships, and action. Studying how different groups use different spaces and platforms for connecting, communicating, and motivating can inform decisions and policies that build capacity for resilience. Applied research on these spaces is significant because investments in these tools can produce substantially greater returns, relative to their cost, than money spent on big ticket, nonsocial physical infrastructure.
Finally, on the third topic, despite the importance of social capital and connectedness and in evaluating risks and resilience, financial organizations that use such evaluations to invest in mitigation and resilience rarely consider these factors. Metrics are needed to account for the
impacts of social capital and connectedness in ways that are compatible with the other tools used to make these decisions. By adopting a more inclusive and quantitative way of looking at the risks of loss, investment organizations can build resilience using a broader range of information.