Acute Shocks

Sudden, sharp events that threaten a city. Examples include: earthquakes, floods, disease outbreaks, and terrorist attacks. 

Affordable Housing

Housing for which the occupant(s) is/are paying no more than 30 percent of their income for gross housing costs, including utilities. Those who pay more than 30 percent of one’s income on housing are considered cost-burdened. Those who pay more than 50 percent are considered severely cost burdened.

Chronic Stresses

Weaken the fabric of a city on a day-to-day or cyclical basis. Examples include: high unemployment, inefficient public transportation systems, endemic violence, and chronic food and water shortages.

Civic Engagement

Individual and collective actions designed to identify and address issues of public concern.


For the City of Atlanta’s 100 Percent Clean Energy Resolution, clean energy includes energy derived from wind, solar, existing and low-impact hydroelectric, geothermal, biogas, and wave technology sources.

Clean Energy

The misguided idea that everyone and every racial group is now equal, and thus there is no need to promote racial equity. People who believe in a color-blind society state that racial/ethnic discrimination, inequality, and racism no longer exist because an individual’s skin color (race) is or should be ignored.

Color blindness

The awareness of one’s own cultural identity and ability to understand difference within and across cultures. This understanding guides and supports the work of professionals in various environments.

Cultural Competency

The immediate result of gentrification. This outcome is typically involuntary and occurs when residents can no longer afford to live in their neighborhoods/communities.


Having a high number of races, cultures, and ethnicities represented within a group, organization, or institution.


Economic Mobility

The ability of an individual or family to improve their income, and social status, in an individual lifetime or between generations.


Aims to ensure that all individuals have what they need to reach their full potential; however, it does not consider the fact that everyone does not start from the same place and need the same things.


Respectful treatment and fair involvement of all people in a society. It is the state in which everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential. Additionally, the National Academy of Public Administration, which has been studying the use of equity as a means of evaluating public policy describes equity as the “fair, just, and equitable management of all institutions serving the public directly or by contract; the fair, just, and equitable distribution of public services and implementation of public policy; and the commitment to promote fairness, justice, and equity in the formation of public policy.” This definition lays the groundwork for measuring equity in Resilient Atlanta’s initiatives.


The national origin(s) of one’s parents, grandparents, and other ancestors. People within an ethnic group typically share beliefs, language, culture, traditions, religion, etc.

Food Desert

Areas that lack access to affordable fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk, and other foods that make up the full range of a healthy diet.


The process of renovating a deteriorating neighborhood, resulting in higher property values, a change in the population, and culture in that particular area. This term is often used negatively because of its common effects on communities of color.

Green Infrastructure

An approach to managing stormwater runoff that emphasizes infiltration, evapotranspiration (uptake of water by plants), and reuse in order to better mimic the natural water cycle.


Involving people of all backgrounds, abilities, perspectives, and beliefs within a group, institution, or decision. This is more than achieving diversity; it is ensuring all individuals have a true sense of belonging.


A theory that recognizes the interaction of multiple forms of oppression (such as racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, ableism, etc.) and its consequences on an individual or group of individuals. This theory helps to explain how people can be privileged in some areas and not privileged in others.


The state or quality of being fair, equitable, or moral. It exists when people are not treated unfairly on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, religion, political affiliations, age, belief, disability, location, socioeconomic circumstances, or any other characteristic(s).


Unjust use of power and authority that adversely impacts groups and individuals that lack power. Examples include racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, etc.

People of Color

A term that was created and used by people who do not identify (or European heritage). This term has been used since the late 1970s. Important Note: Because every racial/ethnic group has its own experience and meaning, it is important to identify people through their own racial/ ethnic group whenever possible.

The ability to influence and make decisions. Typically, this gives an individual access to resources and decision makers to get what they want, even at the disadvantage of others.



A negative, preconceived opinion about an individual or group formed without actual knowledge or fair reason.


Unearned and often unquestioned rights, immunities, or benefits enjoyed through association and membership with a group.


An unnatural way of dividing people into separate groups based on characteristics such as physical looks, particularly skin color. This unnatural grouping is an example of a “social construct,” or a concept or category based on views and personal perceptions as opposed to scientific fact.

Racial Discrimination

The (conscious or unconscious) unfair treatment of others based on an individual’s (actual or perceived) race.

Racial Healing

A process that corresponds with justice. It is the intentional effort(s) to repair and restore the state of a marginalized group or individuals of that group to optimal health or soundness. This process should follow efforts of racial reconciliation.

Racial Inequity

Race-based differences in life outcomes between groups or individuals. Racial inequities are due to unjust institutional policies and practices and the uneven distribution of resources.

Racial Justice

The deliberate creation and proactive reinforcement of policies, practices, ideas, and attitudes that result in equitable treatment, access, opportunities, and outcomes for everyone.


A system of prejudice and discrimination based on how one looks (“race”). This system has historically worked in favor of White people over people of color and continues to do so. Simply put, it is the result of prejudice plus power.

Institutional Racism

Policies and practices within institutions that create different outcomes for different racial groups. These policies and practices may never mention any racial group, but their effect creates a disadvantage for people of color.

Internalized Racism

The acceptance of negative messages and treatment about one’s own race. This internal acceptance leads to patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving that result in minimizing, criticizing, and/or hating oneself, while valuing the White people as the dominant racial group in the U.S.

Systemic Racism

The combined result of policies and practices across institutions and society that work to systematically privilege White people and disadvantage people of color over time. Also referred to as structural racism.

Resilience Dividend

The net social, economic, and physical benefits achieved when designing initiatives and projects in a forward looking, risk aware, inclusive, and integrated way.

Resilience Equity Lens

An approach to looking at policies and programs to understand how to better design projects and policies that address multiple challenges at one time, improving services, and saving resources.

Social Cohesion

A community, neighborhood, or society that works toward—and ensures—the full inclusion, sense of belonging, opportunity, and well-being of all its members.

Social Justice

A vision of society in which the distribution of resources is equitable, and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure.

Socioeconomic Class

The position of an individual or group based on income, education, and job status.


Consisting of reliable and effective structures and procedures to survive over time (including leadership, capacity, and funding streams).

Urban Agriculture

The production (beyond that which is strictly for home consumption or education purposes), distribution, and marketing of foods and other products within the cores of metropolitan areas and at their edges.

Urban Resilience

The capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.



The terms in this glossary have been adapted from the following sources and partners: 100 Resilient Cities, African American Policy Forum, American Planning Association, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Appalachian State University Department of Government and Justice Studies, Boston Public Health Commission, Calgary Anti-Racist Education, California Newsreel, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, City of Atlanta, Colorlines,, Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development, Government Alliance on Race and Equity, Grassroots Policy Project, Camara Phyllis Jones, Lumen Learning Merriam-Webster, Minnesota Community Foundation, Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, National Academy of Public Administration, National Education Association, PBS, PolicyLink, Prevention Institute, Race Forward, Loretta Ross, The SaintPaul Foundation, Becky Shuster, Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center (SJHC), University of Massachusetts at Amherst, David Wellman, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, World Trust, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, American Psychological Association