Understanding Disaster Recovery and Adaptation

Authored by: Michelle Annette Meyer

The Routledge Handbook of Urban Disaster Resilience

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  July  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138886957
eBook ISBN: 9781315714462
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter introduces the topic of disaster recovery and adaptation, including definitions and brief history of each term in disaster and climate change related research and overviews of the following chapters. In the chapters that follow, inequities arising in recovery are underscored across disaster comparisons showing how higher income areas and especially owner-occupied housing recover faster than low-income areas and rental housing. How social vulnerability based on race, income, age, gender, housing tenure, education, and language generates these inequities is reviewed in light of the ability of planners to use an understanding of social vulnerability as a catalyst to plan for inclusive community resilience. Planning for permanent displacement of populations is mostly ignored in recovery research, but as noted in this section, this phenomenon is growing as disaster impacts increase in frequency and damaging affects. Beyond households, this section describes business recovery and highlights the need for greater attention and research on this component of community recovery. Finally, this section concludes with discussion of climate change adaptation, one of the biggest challenges of the twenty-first century, and how community design can incorporate adaptations to reduce the risk for all populations and neighborhoods. This chapter and the following chapters in this section shine light on the capacity of planners to use their knowledge and skills related to the environmental, built, and social environment of their communities in addressing these central recovery issues.

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