Resilient Community Centers

  • Project Date: 2024
  • Location: Türkiye'nin Mahalleleri
  • Client: Vehbi Koç Vakfı
  • Project Team: Cem Ilhan, Tulin Hadi, Sezin Beldağ, Ayşegül Ersin, Efe Toz

Resilient Community Centers aim to bring local communities together around a common purpose and enhance their resilience through specialized environments, core curricula, and partnerships. They are intended to operate in three ways: during normal times, during disasters, and in the post-disaster recovery period. Preparing communities to work together in times of major crisis is a primary goal. Centers established at different scales will operate in coordination with each other nationwide in Turkey. Designs for the centers need to be simple for scalability, with low construction and maintenance costs, locally sourceable materials, and realistic governance models and costs. Ensuring coordination among the centers is critical for building a resilient community. The program content consists of five main components that complement each other:

Common Curriculum: Basic First Aid, disaster preparedness and response, emergency action planning seminars, amateur radio license training, climate change adaptation, permaculture, and water conservation.

Education: Teacher training and network activities, creative drama for youth and children, STEAM education, school reinforcement programs, parenting education for adults, social impact measurement for NGOs, and project & grant proposal writing training.

Culture & Arts: Local theater, music, choir team training and performances, music instrument training for children and adults, cultural, artistic, sports, and educational programs for children, artist talks, online/offline exhibitions, book discussions.

Health: First aid intervention room and basic supplies, nutrition and wellness education/counseling sessions, family health center (Ministry of Health), health screenings (in collaboration with VKV Health Institutions and the Turkish Nurses Association).

Local Development: Research and project support for identifying local risks, action plans for neighborhood-based interventions, courses and workshops for employment.

Users of small-scale community centers are groups with common goals and approaches. Over time, their reach expands through new participants and networks they engage with. Collaboration and a sense of solidarity among community members are reinforced through daily activities. They inspire trust in their surroundings. They are agile structures capable of taking on all responsibilities from program activities to maintenance of the space. Therefore, opting for a small-scale structure they can manage is always preferable. Communities are willing to minimize support from public authorities and strive to be active producers of services.

When it comes to resilient community centers in the context of disasters, it is possible for communities to form with the participation of neighborhood or district residents, teachers, and representatives with expertise in disasters from public authorities.


The center coordinator, technical personnel, and individuals forming the community – representatives of civil society organizations, women’s cooperatives, volunteers – run the center.


Each center will have an action plan to be implemented during disasters or emergencies. The center coordinator takes on coordination during emergencies, and community members take turns volunteering for assistance. If there are Public Personnel responsible for disaster response, the center mobilizes its resources, and personnel and volunteers take on tasks.


During the reconstruction process, the Center Coordinator and staff ensure the functionality of the center. The community provides workspace and activities for national NGOs working in the region, collaborates to conduct needs assessments, and prioritizes action plans.