CEDS | Economic Resilience

Western Arizona Economic Development District

5.0 Economic Resilience

What is the region's ability to avoid, withstand, and recover from economic shocks?

The EDA defines economic resilience as positive adaptability to disruptions and change, with slight long-term loss of function or growth potential. The challenges to our Region’s economic sustainability and resiliency are related to its geographic location, development patterns, and demographic profile.

The SWOT analysis conducted by our Region CEDS committee identified various vulnerabilities that have caused or could potentially cause major economic problems, both locally and regionally. According to EDA,

In the context of economic development, economic resilience becomes inclusive of three primary attributes: the ability to recover quickly from shock, the ability to withstand a shock, and the ability to avoid the shock altogether.

EDA further states that these shocks or disruptions can often be categorized in the following ways:

Economic resiliency is not only discussed in this section of our CEDS but it is woven throughout the entire document. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss resiliency efforts already underway and discuss how resilience is a multi-faceted issue with many different components.

However, the overall purpose of economic resilience is to save and create as many jobs as possible. When a shock occurs, which is inevitable, our community, Region, and people have options.

Our Region is an active Community Support Partner in the Greater Yuma Economic Resource Portal and provides Business Continuity Plan Templates for regional small business owners to download and practice active economic resilience measures.

Our Executive Director is also a long-time member of the Yuma County Office of Emergency Management Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and a FEMA-qualified Incident Command System (ICS) watchstander.

Learn how to build a Community Resilience Toolkit

Return to CEDS

5.1 Planning for and implementing resilience

5.1.1 Steady State Initiatives

"Grass tops without grass roots get blown away in the wind. Sustenance comes from the roots."

These are pre-incident initiatives that focus on long-term efforts to improve our ability to withstand or avoid shocks. Some examples include:

Return to CEDS

5.2 Establishing Information Networks

5.2.1 Responsive Initiatives

These are pre-incident initiatives that focus on a our ability to react in the short-term to shocks and recovery needs. Some examples include:

Return to CEDS

5.3 Economic vs. Physical Shocks

When examining the types of shocks that a community needs to plan for, most can be categorized in two ways, economic shocks, and physical shocks. Economic shocks are caused primarily by economic forces such as closing a significant factory that results in a substantial loss in employment, a national recession, or changes in regulations that affect importing and exporting. The COVID-19 pandemic is a type of economic shock.

Physical shocks harm either the built or natural environment or both, such as a hurricane or an oil spill. Physical shocks are economical as well. So, the issue is repairing physical damage and restoring economic damage and loss of income and businesses. Whether the shock comes as a financial shock or physical shock, all aspects of our community must be resilient: people, built environment, and industries.

Return to CEDS

5.4 Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning

5.4.1 Hazard Mitigation

Economic resilience is essential for both economic shocks and physical shocks, but hazard mitigation is a tool that is mainly focused on physical shocks. Hazard mitigation planning is often focused primarily on natural disasters in which we usually have some warning. But hazard mitigation should also focus on physical shocks that come along with no indication.

Each County in our Region has adopted a hazard mitigation plan that outlines how to prepare for and react to hazards and resources available in a disaster.

The Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs website (Emergency Management | Department of Emergency and Military Affairs), and also Ready.gov offers information about planning for and responding to many different types of disasters.

There is sweltering weather and massive dust storms in our Region during Arizona's summer months and monsoon season. The monsoon season begins on June 15 and ends on September 30, but the monsoon storm peak is between mid-July and mid-August. On average, about half of Arizona receives nearly half of its annual rainfall during the monsoon.

Return to CEDS

5.4.2 Measuring Resilience

Creating Resilient People

Community resilience is a measure of the sustained ability of a community to utilize available resources to respond to, withstand, and recover from adverse situations.

Education: To have a resilient workforce, training and education should support local industry and be adaptable and flexible enough to change as new sectors emerge or as existing industries grow and evolve.

Communication: Our region should strive for excellent communication, including discussing jobs and training opportunities or warning for storms and disaster preparedness.

Quality of life: Healthy and happy people tend to be more able and resilient in times of hardship. Excellent quality of life can make an area marketable and appealing to a new industry.

Safety: Providing a safe environment, either daily through good building and infrastructure or during a time of real crisis, such as availability of shelters and evacuation routes during a storm.

Creating Resilient Environment

Communities strive to be stronger and more resilient after the recovery, than they were before. (a spiral effect!)

Structures: Implementing building construction codes that result in sturdy construction creates a built environment that is less vulnerable to natural disasters and will sustain the test of time.

Infrastructure: A new and up-to-date infrastructure that is stronger and more resilient can withstand a natural disaster is a marketable feature for recruiting new industry.

Land suitability: Building on land suitable for development reduces vulnerability to natural disasters.

Site Redevelopment: Redevelopment of an existing or underutilized site is often more efficient and cost-effective than developing a new size.

Creating Resilient Industry

A community’s resilience depends on the reservoir of all healthy assets, or capitals, that can contribute to the well being of people, places, and economies.

Diversity: Industry in the region. The old saying, don't put all of your eggs in one basket, apply. For example, a chemical plant closing does not impact our tourism industry.

Adaptability: As technologies change, an economy waxes and wanes, industry needs to adapt to current markets, and our workforce should be adapted to meet those changing needs. Initiative and adaptability often occur.

Innovation: Industry innovation often goes hand-in-hand with diversity and adaptability and usually occurs due to a physical or economic shock.

Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security (May 2019)

Return to CEDS

5.5 Specific Economic Resilience Measures

5.5.1 "Responsive" Initiatives for COVID-19

The Western Arizona Economic Development District serves as part of a network among various stakeholders in our Region to support active and regular communications between public, private, education, and non-profit sections during economic challenges and post-disruption stages.

Our Region’s plans to respond to any anticipated, or unanticipated negative impacts include:

Return to CEDS