Louise Elstow's Story

Author: Louise Elstow
Louise Elstow's Story

Louise Elstow studied emergency response programmes in North America, with the aim of inspiring greater resilience in urban communities.

The Fellowship 

Louise was working for Camden Council as an Emergency Management Officer at the time of her Fellowship. She was particularly interested in improving resilience in heavily populated urban environments like London, where people have become dependent on responders and are often not able to help themselves in emergencies.

Over a six-week period, Louise visited urban communities in America and Canada who had prepared for and in some cases responded effectively in the face of shared disaster, including New York, Boston, San Francisco, Vancouver and Toronto.

The Results 

Louise’s Fellowship report, which contains local and national recommendations, advocates a different approach to building community resilience - one that is about bringing communities together and building networks, rather than handing out leaflets and Z-cards.  It has been shared widely amongst UK practitioners, informing the practices of 33 borough councils in London, as well as councils in Humberside.   

Louise has lectured on Community Resilience at the University of Wolverhampton and, in 2014, was invited to speak at The World Conference on Disaster Management in Toronto, ensuring that her learnings form part of a global conversation about community resilience building.

She is currently applying the learning as part of an Emergency Planning Society Working Group looking at City Resilience. The Fellowship also assisted in securing a PhD and funding at Lancaster University to study medium-to long-term impacts on recovery during nuclear incidents.