April 03, 2014

With a Little Help From Our Friends

We often talk about resiliency in the language of infra- structure, supply chains, security systems, and recovery plans. But resiliency is also social; it is found in people, in the relationships among port partners who facilitate port and marine transportation system recovery after disasters, and who work together to prevent disasters. These relation- ships are forms of social capital, which is a critical yet under- emphasized element of port resiliency.

Social Capital Aids Resiliency

The term social capital refers to relationships among indi- viduals that are characterized by trust, mutuality, cred- ibility, reciprocity, and networks. As implied by the term “capital,” these relationships and the networks they form can be very valuable.

For example, social capital can provide access to informa- tion and resources and can be leveraged to acquire other resources. It can also be relied upon in a crisis, or to help solve a problem, and can help facilitate joint action among a diverse group of individuals and organizations. Not to be confused with offcial arrangements like public/private partnerships or interagency memoranda of understanding, social capital is not necessarily evident on paper. While for- mal membership on a harbor safety committee or in a neigh- borhood watch association can help build social capital, it is by defnition informal and largely intangible. 

Please visit The Proceedings to read the full article.