When the COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing measures arrived, most indoor facilities closed. The South Vancouver Neighbourhood House (SVNH) launched temporary emergency food distribution activities using its main building in response to food insecurity and the closure of local food bank locations. This thesis project is an exploratory case study of how SVNH functioned as social infrastructure as it adapted its services and supported community capabilities and resilience outcomes during the first months of the pandemic, a time of crisis. SVNH, as an institution, a network of staff, volunteers and members, and a physical space and set of spatial assets, along with their linkages with other organizations, spaces and services function as an adaptive network of social and critical infrastructure. Through its activities, services, use of spatial assets, and collaboration with other organizations and spaces, SVNH facilitates community building, social service provision and collective capabilities on a regular basis and during a crisis. Based on this case study and a review of literature on community resilience, collective capabilities, and social infrastructure, I make a case for a capabilities approach to understanding and operationalizing community resilience.
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Thesis advisor: Holden, Meg
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