Building Back Better: A Compilation of Key Lessons on Disaster Recovery

By November 14, 2017 Blog

build-back-better-haznetHaznet, the Canadian Risks and Hazards Network‘s dissemination platform, has published a new issue of their magazine title Build Back Better, which include contributions by our faculty member Lorenzo Chelleri and former student Martina Manna. Focusing on the issues surrounding rebuilding processes across the globe, the publication gather a number of contributions that “highlight innovation in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation practice and the gaps remaining to increase resilience.”

The contributions of Lorenzo Chelleri, a urban resilience expert, and Martina Manna, whose focus is on post-disaster reconstruction, are featured in the section A Balancing Act. In his piece, Lorenzo draws lessons from post-earthquake L’Aquila:

The process of building the city and the surrounding villages and towns back better temporally masked the uncertain future of the region prior to the earthquake, the major (pre-existing) challenge being the shrinking regional economy of central Italy. An aging population, declining economies and demographic emigration represented a slow variable stressing and characterizing the recent economic history of central Italy. The earthquake brought an unprecedented infusion of funding and resources from the central government for reconstruction and governance support. As the build back better process continues, central Italy will soon be better planned and prepared to withstand future earthquakes. The questions remains: who will live there?

Nepal-house-rocks-MartinaMartina’s piece, which we explored in greater depth in an earlier post titled Building Back Better: It’s Complicated, presents her research of post-earthquake rebuilding efforts in Nepal’s Nuwakot district village of Ratmate—where 60% percent of homes were destroyed during the 2015 earthquake—and how ingrained belief systems based on deep-rooted social and cultural values often thwart the adoption of safer building techniques.

When villagers were informed of the increased vulnerability caused by certain reconstruction practices, and asked their reason for neglecting the building back better criteria, most of them revealed a surprising reasoning: “The earth needs time to settle and it is not worth building back in a good way now, on unstable earth. Once the earth will settle, we will build back better” (interviews, December 2016). This shows the temporal tension with regards to implementing BBB approaches on unstable (physically and politically) soil.

 

You can read all of contributions to the new Building Back Better issue here.

 

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