• Form Follows Families: Evolution of U.S. Affordable Housing Design and Construction
  • Volume 16, Number 2
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga
 

Disaster Recovery and Community Renewal: Housing Approaches

Mary C. Comerio
University of California, Berkeley


 

How we understand and measure success in disaster recovery establishes the policy platform for how governments prepare for future events. In the past two decades, observers have recognized that the return to pre-event conditions is often unworkable—not only because the pre-event conditions were hazardous, but also because the disaster has created a new normal, requiring new ways of thinking and planning. Disaster recovery means more than restoring physical infrastructure and reconstructing housing and commercial buildings. Recovery is now linked to the concepts of resilience and community renewal, with social, economic, institutional, infrastructural, ecological, and community dimensions. Recent research has helped to identify the linkages among several factors: the welfare of individuals; the welfare of households; business and civic recovery; and the importance of health, education, housing, employment, and environmental conditions in recovery. The capacity for renewal, reorganization, and development is critical for ultimately going beyond recovery to community resilience. The range of approaches to the recovery process after recent earthquakes in Chile, China, Haiti, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, and other countries offers insights into successful policies and challenges to integrating housing and recovery at the human and civic levels.


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