News and Events


The RbD lab presents Youth Voices in Focus: A crucial conversation about youth, disaster, and climate change adaptation. #CanadianYouthStepUp

Dr. Robin Cox discusses 9-11 on CFAX

Listen to Dr. Robin Cox discuss the anniversary of September 11th with Pamela McCall on CFAX (skip to 6:40).

“It’s part of the reason it’s important to continue talking about these events in some way, even though it’s 15 years ago, to help children and young people understand how history shapes current events and to dig deeper, below the kinds of headline news that we consume to understand how policy and cultural changes and foreign relations etc get shaped by events like these and how they are used in the rhetoric of politicians. So I think it’s a really important consideration and as tragic as the loss of life was, there was this deep collective cultural impact in North America in particular, which had global implications that we are still experiencing around the world.”

Children, youth and disasters: Listening, learning, and moving towards democratic engagement


Lori Peek draws on her work following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 where she interviewed disaster-affected children and youth across the United States. She found: “that by helping others, children and youth are able to contribute to their own recovery, as well as the recovery of those around them. Children, like adults, need to regain a sense of control in the face of environmental threats, and chronic and acute disasters. One of the best ways they can do this is through being actively engaged in the places where they live, go to school, work, and play.”

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Youth Voices Rising project launches to ensure youth voice part of Fort McMurray wildfire recovery


In January 2017, the ResiliencebyDesign Research Innovation Lab launched the “Youth Voices Rising: Recovery & Resilience” project in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMBW) in Alberta. The Wood Buffalo region consists of ten communities including the urban centre, Fort McMurray. All these communities were impacted by the devastating Fort McMurray wildfire that started on May 1, 2016 and burned for two months before being contained.

The Fort McMurray fire forced the evacuation of nearly 90-thousand people and resulted in the loss of approximately 2400 buildings including homes, commercial and other buildings (Insurance Bureau of Canada). The “Youth Voices Rising: Recovery & Resilience in Wood Buffalo” project responds directly to these events and focuses on hearing stories from fire-affected youth as part of recovery. The project will support the capacity of youth to contribute not only to the recovery process but also to the long-term resilience of RMBW communities.

The project’s initial actions will be to engage with community members, including young people, to determine how best to support youth during the early recovery from the wildfire. Throughout the two-year project, RbD Lab members intend to collaborate with existing community based, youth-serving organizations in RMWB to strengthen youths’ capacities and capabilities to engage as citizens in the short- and longer-term recovery process through visual storytelling, action research, participatory video and other methods. Such efforts aim to enhance the disaster preparedness, resilience and risk reduction knowledge and activities through youth engagement. The project is funded by the Canadian Red Cross.

Photo: Landscape view of wildfire near Highway 63 in south Fort McMurray by DarrenRD (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

ARC Project at the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN)


Lead researchers Dr. Julie Drolet, Dr. Robin Cox, and Dr. Caroline McDonald-Harker, as well as Community-Based Researchers Lisa Elford and Janelle Richardson gave a presentation about the ARC Project at the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) in Calgary, AB.

Official launch of the ResiliencebyDesign Lab


The RRU ResiliencebyDesign Research Lab was officially launched on July 8th. The team wishes to extend their thanks to all who have supported the development and launch of the lab and to all of our RRU community who were able to attend the launch party. We also want to thank the live ska band Downtown Mischief who provided such fabulous music (and Rhett Reilkoff who joined for a set) and all the RRU staff who assisted in making this event possible.

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New research examines resiliency in children and youth from 2013 Southern Alberta floods


When Southern Alberta was overwhelmed with flood waters as rivers and creeks breached their banks spilling into streets and homes in June, 2013, flood waters forced Melissa Palmer from her home and her community.

She was worried for her two children, both by the catastrophe that was unfolding around them, and the uncertainty of their futures. Drs. Robin Cox, Julie Drolet, and Caroline McDonald-Harker are hoping to better understand the resiliency of children in order to bring peace of mind to families like the Palmer’s and strengthen communities when disaster strikes.

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Youth Engagement and Disaster Risk Reduction


Dr. Robin Cox, Dr. Leila Scannell, Tiffany Hill, and Roxy Trask facilitated a workshop on youth engagement and disaster risk reduction at the Seventh Annual National Roundtable on Disaster Risk Reduction and the CRHNet Annual Symposium in Montreal, Quebec.

Interview with Lieutenant-Colonel E.M. Izatt

Dr. Robin Cox, Program Head of the Disaster an Emergency Management Program and Director of the ResiliencebyDesign Lab at Royal Roads University recently interviewed Lieutenant-Colonel E.M. Izatt, the Commander who led the Canadian Forces Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to Nepal after the earthquake there in April 2015.

The Walrus talks Resilience

“Lessons from Neverland: Empowering Youth as Resilience Leaders” by Robin Cox.

1. Emergency managers and politicians need to be more like Peter Pan than Captain Hook.
2. We need to embrace the lessons from Neverland about the value of staying childlike.
3. We need to empower youth to be involved in disaster risk reduction and resilience building because it’s right, but also because it’s about saving our planet.

Disaster recovery and resilience for youth


Youth affected by natural disasters often experience a devastating loss of place. This loss presents unique challenges in youths’ resilience and recovery because they rely on place for various aspects of their development.

Royal Roads University is developing solutions to those challenges through the Resilience by Design Research Lab (RbD lab) and thanks to the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, more resources will be allocated toward these efforts. Environmental psychologist Dr. Leila Scannell is a recipient this year of the prestigious fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and will examine the role of place in children and youth’s disaster experiences, recovery and resilience.

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