International Disaster Resilience

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Associate Professor: Kanako IUCHI
Assistant Professor: Elizabeth MALY
International Disaster Resilience Laboratory
The international disaster resilience laboratory primarily focuses on the recovery phase of the disaster management cycle. To identify the most important components of resilient rebuilding and implementation efforts, we aim to systemize and theorize rebuilding policies and planning processes by analyzing post-disaster cases internationally. Our primary research themes are three-fold: i) planning policies and governance related to rebuilding livelihoods , ii) resettlement plans, decisions, and community-based processes, and iii) international exchange and comparisons with planners and researchers toward rebuilding with resilience. Currently, we are researching cases from Japan, the US, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Figure 1  International Disaster Resilience Laboratory: Three Pillars of Research
Planning policies and governance related to rebuilding livelihoods
We aim to understand how policies and plans for rebuilding in various locations incorporate future disaster risk, and how these are adopted, modified, or neglected by various communities in the process. In particular, we examine interactions between planning systems (e.g., recovery policies and programs, land use, implementation processes) and governance (e.g., central, regional, and local governments; business communities; and local communities) among different stakeholders to understand how their relationship contributes to increasing community resilience.
Figure 2  Evolution of Japan’s Recovery Governance Structure, modified from Iuchi, Johnson, and Olshansky (2013)
Resettlement plans, decisions, and community-based processes
Although post-disaster resettlement is a critical area in recovery studies, very little research has addressed successful strategies and consensus-building processes in resettlement procedure. We aim to understand how these components affect decision-making and outcomes. We also engage in research on “People-centered housing recovery” within this framework.
Figure 3  Concept of People-centered Housing Recovery
International exchange and comparisons with planners and researchers toward rebuilding with resilience
By exchanging information and knowledge about disaster recovery with experienced researchers, planners, and government officials, we aim to identify key planning factors that contribute to future resilience. We seek to find important common elements by comparing diverging cases over regions, time, and social systems, as disaster studies are often place specific and difficult to generalize.