Building Resilient Neighbourhoods
Building Resilient Neighbourhoods (BRN) is a collaborative effort to help create more resilient communities and neighbourhoods in British Columbia, Canada. It is currently delivered and hosted by the non-profit Building Resilient Neighbourhoods Society.
What is building community resilience about?
Social, environmental and economic issues are challenging human and community well-being. Meeting our basic needs closer to home through expanding local, co-operative and self-reliant communities is a key strategy to help us reduce our impact on the environment, while enhancing community prosperity and strengthening social ties and community cohesion. Learn more about resilient neighbourhoods.
What is “resiliency”?
Resilience is all about strengthening our community’s ability to respond and adapt to big changes and deep challenges. It’s about all of us working together to build a stronger, more connected neighbourhood where everyone’s basic needs are met and everyone belongs.
Why is it important?
As we face complex challenges—ranging from climate change and resource depletion to growing financial disparities and declining public health—we can address these by building greater social connectedness, connection to place, and sense of community many of us yearn for.
By focusing on what we can actually do and control in our own neighbourhoods, resilient communities create new ways to support each other as neighbours, live in harmony with our natural environments, and strengthen our local economies. We start where we are, creating a ripple effect.
Stacy Barter is Building Resilient Neighbourhoods’ Executive Director where she leads and facilitates a number of community resilience initiatives and collaborates as the Director Learning and Evaluation for the Hey Neighbour Collective. For over 25 years, Stacy has worked in sustainable community development with a wide range of communities, non-profit organizations, and public sector agencies in Canada and Latin America. Her recent work focuses on building neighbourhood-based engagement, public engagement on climate change and health, community resilience, and collective impact across sectors. In addition to her role with Building Resilient Neighbourhoods, Stacy supports this work as a co-founder and consultant with SHIFT Collaborative. Stacy holds a M. Ed. from Simon Fraser University, specializing in Adult Education, community development, and organizational learning.
Co-founder and Steering Team Member
Michelle Colussi has spent over 20 years working in diverse settings across Canada in Community Economic Development and Resilience. Her work has included organizational development and coaching, research, evaluation, training and community assessment and development. Her volunteer work has included various board leadership roles in mental health and the arts. In 2010 Michelle became a trainer for Transition Towns in Canada and co-founded Transition Victoria. Building Resilient Neighbourhoods emerged from that effort. Michelle is a strong advocate for social and environmental justice and the power of groups and communities to organize and make the world a better place. Currently she works with her colleagues as a co-founder and consultant at SHIFT Collaborative Co-op.
Co-founder and Steering Team Member
Rob Wipond has been a professional freelance researcher, writer, and community issues journalist for more than twenty years. He also volunteers on the board and steering committee of Building Resilient Neighbourhoods. Over the years, he has occasionally done contract research, writing and/or editing for organizations working to protect fish and wildlife habitat, including the Conservation Lands Program, Nature Trust, Ducks Unlimited, and Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, and for groups fostering grassroots community resilience such as Hey Neighbour Collective.
Program & Curriculum Designer
Molly Rose is a community planning consultant who supports municipalities, regional districts, and private actors in developing neighbourhood programs. Her work focuses on fostering meaningful neighbourhood connections to help address a range of societal challenges including loneliness, social isolation, emergency preparedness, natural disaster recovery, and climate action. From her position on the Board of Directors for the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network, Molly organizes community projects in public spaces to promote relationship-building and connection to place. She holds a Master of Sc. in Urban Studies from the 4Cities Euromaster program in which she studied social innovation in refugee housing in Vienna, Austria.
Resilience Facilitator & Designer
Vrindy Spencer has held many community roles over the years in North America, Europe, and Asia including Community Builder, Program Manager, Curriculum Developer, Facilitator, Camp Director, and Residence Life Manager, within non-profits, universities, peace-education programs, and grassroots organizing. Her focus is on social justice, empowerment, creativity, and depth of relationships and connections with a personal interest in belonging, the mixed-heritage experience, and healing within community. She is completing her Masters in Equity Studies at SFU and works as a Community Engagement Specialist with Hi Neighbour at United Way of British Columbia and supporting facilitation and curriculum development for Building Resilient Neighbourhoods.
Ana Méndez works with Building Resilient Neighbourhoods and the Connect & Prepare program as Resilience Coordinator.Ana is passionate about the role of community connection and engagement in building resilience and collective action in cities. Originally from Mexico, and now a settler on Lekwungen-speaking territories, Ana is fascinated by the nuance of urban environments, and the relationship between people, place, and space. Ana holds a Bachelor’s degree from Simon Fraser University in Human Geography and Urban Studies. She has experience working in grassroots community organizations and non-profits in the realms of food justice, policy advocacy, community organizing, and emergency preparedness. In her spare time, you can find Ana exploring the city, reading, practicing yoga, or enjoying all that the West Coast has to offer.
Our Funders & Partners
Building Resilient Neighbourhoods is currently delivered and hosted by the Building Resilient Neighbourhoods non-profit society. The project was originally developed as a partnership between the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria and Transition Victoria with the collaboration of the Canadian Centre for Community Renewal, BC Healthy Communities, and the Fraser Basin Council’s Smart Planning for Communities program. A current partner is SHIFT Collaborative, and other past partners include Greater Victoria Eldercare Foundation. To date, the project has also been generously supported by the Victoria Foundation, Vancouver Foundation, City of Victoria, the District of Saanich, Dockside Green, Plan H. and Community Fund for Canada’s 150th.