After Great Disasters: An In-Depth Analysis of How Six Countries Managed Community Recovery

Lecture | September 29 | 12-1 p.m. | 316 Wurster Hall

 Dr. Laurie Johnson; Dr. Robert B. Olshansky

 Institute of Urban and Regional Development, Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER)

Great natural disasters are rare, but their aftermath can change the fortunes of a city or region forever. In their new book, After Great Disasters (Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2017), Johnson and Olshansky report on their 25 years of collaborative experience and firsthand research on the roles of government in successful disaster recovery in the United States, Japan, China, New Zealand, Indonesia, and India. The U. S. case highlights the increasing centralization of state and federal involvement in recovery with the 2001 World Trade Center disaster, 2005 Hurricane Katrina-previously detailed by the authors in Clear As Mud: Planning for the Rebuilding of New Orleans (APA 2010)--and 2012 Superstorm Sandy. Lessons from the six country cases can help communities and government leaders better organize for and implement recovery after future disasters. The cases also illustrate how post-disaster reconstruction offers opportunities to improve construction and design standards, renew infrastructure, create new land use arrangements, reinvent economies, and improve governance. If done well, reconstruction can help break the cycle of disaster-related impacts and losses, and improve the resilience of a city or region.

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