Cycles of Resilience builds relationships between residents of the Canarsie neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, scientists, and members of local government so that all parties can successfully participate in collaborative resilience planning. Located on Jamaica Bay, the Canarsie neighborhood was devastated by Super Storm Sandy in 2012 and remains at risk from major storms and sea level rise, as well as ecosystem and biodiversity loss around the Bay. Collaborators from the Science Resilience Institute for Jamaica Bay, Public Agenda, City University New York-Brooklyn College’s Center for the Study of Brooklyn, Canarsie Community Development Incorporated, and other partners designed a sequence of opportunities that facilitate public officials to work better with the community and that empowers residents.
These activities include events that allow residents to get to know Jamaica Bay better through games and guided tours; community forums where participants share ideas and establish action teams; and listening sessions where the community can surface additional climate resilience priorities like green spaces, civic education, and a new community center. Although Canarsie typically has low levels of civic engagement, participation in activities like community festivals and forums grew over time. Public Agenda reports that “the residents are taking the knowledge gained to organize others on important initiatives of their own, while being able to capitalize on the new relationships with scientists and public officials for support as needed.”