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The basic components of Resiliency Theory – risk exposure, promotive assets and resources, and the dynamic interaction of risk and promotive factors over time – can be applied to the study of community well-being when communities face challenges. Although community well-being is often studied relative to acute risks, such as a natural disaster, it can also be threatened by chronic risks. Chronic risk exposure for a community includes factors such as economic decline, property vacancy, and crime. Over time these risks become additive in nature and interact with one another to adversely affect individuals, families, neighborhoods, and even entire cities. Economic decline of a given area, for example, can result in neighborhood instability and disadvantage that results in greater risk of crime. We argue that communities exposed to chronic stressors over time face slow disasters. Slow disasters create vulnerability and increase susceptibility to risk factors that generate barriers to community health and well-being. We apply these ideas through a case study of the postindustrial city of Flint, Michigan and discuss possible mechanisms to enhance resiliency in the face of slow disaster to achieve community well-being.
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