“Resilience” was the theme of the 2014 Ridenour Faculty Fellowship Conference hosted by Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) on Thursday, October 23 and Friday, October 24 at the Virginia Tech Research Center in Arlington. SPIA faculty, staff, students and guest speakers joined together for the two-day conference to discuss interdisciplinary research, planning, and policy making focused on an array of pressing issues from climate change to community well-being to economic stability.

This year’s Ridenour Faculty Fellowship Conference (RFFC) probed the concept of resilience in two approaches. The conference hosted three plenary discussions featuring guest speakers who engage distinct components of resilience – government agencies and agency, urban real estate construction and development, and financial dimensions of resilience. It also featured three workshops that sought to enhance research in progress in the School through a discussion between interdisciplinary research teams and invited experts.

In its third edition, the conference again provided two days of discussions, debates and new questions. This annual Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs conference promotes transdisciplinary discussion in order to overcome the disciplinary limitations in understanding social phenomena and suggesting solutions to problems.

The first conference 2012 focused on Distressed Cities and the 2013 conference topic was Possibilities of Governance – Governing Possibilities. Our conference format of structured yet free-flowing conversation allowed new explorations of empirical research and conceptual ideas to emerge. Conversations between social scientists, geographers, artists, public administration scholars, planners, landscape architects, economists, lawyers, and others highlighted new ideas, forged cross cutting themes, questioned the concepts and methods we use. The conference’s interactions made intellectual, practical and aesthetic connections not previously in place. This is what every Ridenour Faculty Fellowship Conference strives to achieve.