Resilient Communities

December 2022

Communities and buildings described as resilient are those that adapt to changing circumstances.  Ensuring our communities are resilient requires an understanding of strengths, weaknesses and obstacles to be overcome.

Much like people, a well-designed building can withstand many threats including cold and hot weather, heavy snow, flooding, hurricanes, drought and pandemic.  It is designed to anticipate and adapt to changing circumstances and worst-case situations.  A door is designed to be resilient based on its expected use.  Glass, frame and hinges are designed to withstand heavy and prolonged use.

In the context of high-rise condominium communities, resilience takes many forms.

Financial Resilience

Sufficient funds are necessary for ongoing operations including preventative maintenance and repairs.  A strong reserve fund is necessary to deal with major capital requirements.  Additional funds are needed to pay for what is unexpected and unplanned.


The lobby is the most heavily utilized area in a building.  Residents retrieve their mail.  Packages are delivered by various services to be picked up by residents.  Visitors, contractors and home care workers traverse the lobby from early morning until late in the evening.  A resilient lobby is equally designed for hot summer weather, moisture and cold.

A resilient lobby includes two sets of doors to better control air flow and temperature.  Carpet and flooring are designed to draw snow, rain, salt and dirt from foot coverings so the lobby is safer and cleaner.

A lobby filled with delivered packages waiting to be retrieved by residents is a mess, security risk and distraction.  Resilience may require secure package storage and systems.

Visitors and residents congregating around the concierge desk is an impediment to smooth operations.


A poorly utilized amenity is space that could be put to better use.  Does the cost of maintaining the amenity justify its use?  One way to achieve resilience in amenities is to allow its use by many people at once and for multiple purposes.  Demands change throughout the day.  Seniors and families may have daytime interests that differ from young adults and teenagers in the evening.  That party room may also be able to serve as a reading lounge, work and study area, and card room.

Pandemic or Health

Windows that open, an efficient ventilation system, separation of individual areas in exercise and social space, virus-resistant surfaces, seating that is comfortable, and proper cleaning are all part of a resilient community.