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An Interview with Resilience Hubs Advisor Bin Jung 

Resilience hubs are trusted community-serving facilities that support residents in everyday life. Resilience hubs help foster social cohesion and connection amongst community members to prepare for, respond to, and recover from climate change impacts happening now and in the future. These hubs include nonprofits, youth development centers, and faith-based organizations. 

Seattle is seeing an increase in extreme weather events, such as flooding, heat domes, and wildfire smoke, due to climate change. These climate impacts disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), as well as youth, elders, and low-income residents. The City of Seattle is prioritizing providing underserved communities with safe spaces they can use for everyday use, community building, resources, and shelter. Resilience hubs are unique in that they both uplift residents in their daily lives, as well as offer refuge during a time of worsening climate-related events.  

Along with the leadership of organizations serving Seattle’s BIPOC communities, the City of Seattle has been working to develop a Citywide Resilience Hub Plan. We sat down with Bin Jung, the Resilience Hubs Advisor at the Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment (OSE), to chat about resilience hubs, the upcoming plan, and some upcoming educational events open to community members.  

Q: What are the key components of a resilience hub? How would you explain a resilience hub to someone unfamiliar with them? 

Bin: A resilience hub is a trusted, community-serving facility that support communities in everyday life and before, during, and after an emergency. Key components are a trusted, community-serving organization, a building, and the ability to assist during an emergency. Organizations such as daycares, senior centers, nonprofits, youth development centers, food banks, and faith-based organizations could be resilience hubs. These organizations help people meet their critical everyday needs by providing resources, services, and information. Upgrading their facilities helps the building operate every day and provide relief during climate change-related weather events such as wildfire smoke, heat waves, heavy rain, or cold.  

We have been using the Urban Sustainability Director’s Network (USDN) approach to resilience hubs, which outlines five foundational areas.  

  1. Services and Programs 

Services and programs are the everyday offerings of a resilience hub that improve a community’s well-being. 

  1. Communications 

Communications includes emergency communication systems and a trusted line of information between the hub and the City. 

  1. Building and Landscapes 

Building and landscapes includes features and upgrades that serve communities in everyday life as well as in emergencies, such as multi-purpose rooms, kitchens, and updated heating, cooling, and air filtration systems. 

  1. Power 

Power includes transitioning buildings to renewable energy sources, like solar, away from fossil fuels to lower greenhouse gas emissions, and back up batteries to provide electricity during outages. 

  1. Operations 

Operations ensures that there is enough staff and capacity to support resilience hubs in their year-round programming, and that they are trained to know what to do during an emergency. 

Q: You mentioned that a resilience hub has to be a physical structure. Why is this important? 

Bin: Having a physical building where people can be gives communities a trusted place to go in their daily lives and when they need relief from climate change-related weather events. When we’ve gone out to community members and asked them what they need in their neighborhood to be more resilient, a lot of folks have talked about wanting to make connections, having physical meeting spaces, and getting to know their neighbors.  

Q: What is an example of what a resilience hub looks like? What services do they provide? 

Bin: One resilience hub is Mini Mart City Park in Georgetown. Mini Mart City Park is an arts-oriented cultural center and park with a mission to “clean the earth through art.” It used to be a gas station! We can break down their work by the five foundational areas I mentioned earlier.  

For programming and services, they host art exhibits, residencies, environmental action, and youth- and locally-focused programming in the Duwamish Valley. For communications, they have public WiFi at the building, and are creating an emergency communications plan.  

The building has state-of-the-art remediation technology that cleans the contaminated land it sits on. The building also has a rainwater capture system, and heating/cooling with air filtration. They’re in the process of acquiring and developing the space next door to build a classroom and an all-electric kitchen.  

For power, they have solar panels and a backup battery storage system to provide electricity during power outages. And for operations, they have a board of directors, one staff person, and will have an executive director this fall.  

The City of Seattle’s Duwamish Valley Program is supporting the Mini Mart City Park with funding to improve their facilities and enhance their physical infrastructure, as well as support their programming and operations capacity.  

Q: What is OSE doing to promote and implement resilience hubs? 

Bin: We are developing the Citywide Resilience Hub Plan that will outline how the City can support and assist resilience hubs. A key part of that plan is to take a 360-degree view of what the City has in terms of resilience hub-related programs, funding and initiatives, and incentives. We will coordinate these different agencies to make sure we’re working in unison to invest in climate justice frontline communities. 

Q: Will resilience hubs be in specific neighborhoods? 

Bin: Climate change affects all of us, but it affects certain communities and neighborhoods unevenly. For example, the place in the city with the highest flood risk is South Park, which is predominantly low-income and Latinx. At OSE, we stand by our commitment to serve and lift up frontline communities that are hit first and worst by climate change and racial, social, and economic injustices.  

We looked at the high priority communities identified in the Race and Social Equity Index, the Office of Planning and Community Development’s 2023 Climate Vulnerability Assessment, and other data sources the City uses to guide our work. And we are conducting small, focused engagement activities in these identified communities.  

We also want to emphasize that this work does not depend on the City of Seattle. The City can offer support and assistance, but if a community or organization wants to become a resilience hub, they should go forth! 

Q: Do resilience hubs work under a “one size fits all” model, or is each hub unique? 

Bin: A resilience hub can’t work under a ‘one size fits all’ model. Each hub’s functions should be informed by the respective communities they are to serve and the respective challenges within the neighborhood the hub is located in. That means factors like physical location and characteristics such as topography or hydrology should inform the function and design.  

Q: How are you partnering with community members, and how can people get involved? 

Bin: Engagement is underway, and will continue through the spring and the summer. We are working with a team of community-based consultants with expertise in art, science, academia, community organizing, policy and advocacy, and climate justice to design and lead engagement. We’re hoping to do a couple art-focused workshops like zine (self-published work) workshops, storytelling, and mapping, a panel, and other events. 

People can visit our website, sign up for our OSE newsletter, or follow us on Instagram to stay in the loop about upcoming events and the future plan. 


Stay tuned if you are interested in attending one of the planned resilience hub events. We hope to see you there!