I heard something interesting last week about the heat wave the midwest had in July of 1995. There were two communities in Chicago that were right next to each other, and similar in socio-economic levels, but one had vastly better survival rates during the heat wave. And by survival rates, I’m talking about the elderly folks who are usually among the fatalities related to heat waves.
It was interesting, because I think what was found could be useful in other SHTF situations.
One is called Englewood, the other is called Auburn Gresham and they’re literally next to each other. They have the same microclimate; both very poor, both lots of older people living alone. In Englewood, the death rate was about 33 per 100,000 residents. One of the highest in Chicago. In Auburn Gresham, it was three per 100,000 residents. It was safer than many places on the far more affluent and white north sides of Chicago. Auburn Gresham is a neighborhood that has poverty, yes; and it’s segregated, yes. But it has small commercial establishments that draw older people who are vulnerable to heat waves out of their homes and into public life. It has a viable social infrastructure. -ERIC KLINENBERG
Are you taking your social infrastructure into account when you prep? I think the easiest thing to look at is the commercial district in your town. Whether that’s a historic main street or the local mall. Is it more closed than open? If you’ve never seen a dead mall, count yourself lucky. It’s creepy. Out here in Iowa, this can be seen sometimes in the smaller towns. The downtown is all closed, or the cluster around the freeway exit is all boarded up.
I’ve never lived in one, but I hear there are entire communities made up of nothing but residential houses. Which sounds like the problem highlighted with the Chicago community of Englewood.
I would strongly advise anyone living in such areas to think about adding a move into the prep list. Even if you only move to the next town over, or the next neighborhood, if it can improve the chances of a bunch of old people, it can certainly improve the chances of a prepper.
That said, I think those areas are likely to change as pressures increase. I’ve seen some interesting arguments for encouraging garage businesses, and brave gardeners turning expansive lawns into cooperative farms. Iowa recently relaxed it’s regulations for the selling of home baked items. I think there’s a definite trend, but it will take more hard work.
Are you in a resilient community? Are you working to improve the resiliency of your community?