Increasing the disaster resilience of remote communities through scenario co-creation (2019)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Thesis DisciplineDisaster Risk and Resilience
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
AuthorsDavies, Alistair J.show all
Collaboration to enable participatory disaster impact reduction decision-making has become a political, policy and practice priority, for example, featuring in the 2015 Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. However, divergent definitions of resilience, focussed either on preserving and restoring the built environment (“equilibrist resilience”), or on social change and adaptation (“evolutionary resilience”), have resulted in largely parallel bodies of literature and practice.
While all communities benefit from participating in disaster impact reduction efforts to some extent, this participation is essential for remote communities at risk of isolation due to disaster impacts. Remote communities increasingly rely on distributed infrastructure to provide essential services and are relied upon to implement disaster resilience. Moreover, if a remote community is isolated, community members will need to lead immediate response efforts in the absence of authorities, sometimes for considerable periods of time. Therefore, in practice, both the reduction of disruption to essential services and socio-cultural transformation are necessary to build the resilience of remote communities.
This doctoral project aims to address this gap in the field by developing and trialling an inclusive participatory, scenario-based approach to increase the resilience of a remote community to loss of essential services due to disaster damage to infrastructure, as an integrated component of wider initiatives to reduce inequities and effect social transformation. This aim was achieved by 1) identifying factors that affect the resilience of remote communities at risk of isolation from disasters triggered by natural hazards; 2) developing a participatory approach to integrate disaster impact reduction planning across stakeholder domains, to increase the resilience of remote communities at risk of isolation from disasters triggered by natural hazards; and 3) partnering with community members from Franz Josef, New Zealand, practitioners and policymakers to apply the participatory scenario-based approach.
This thesis addresses the fundamental divide between equilibrist and evolutionary resilience by demonstrating that it is possible to bridge the two disciplinary approaches. By developing and applying an “evolutionary” participatory governance approach to bring together community members, practitioners, policymakers and researchers, the participating stakeholder groups were all able to better understand the likely disruption, resulting from disaster damage to distributed infrastructure networks, and to make decisions to reduce both that disruption and the social consequences of it. Through this approach, Franz Josef community members, infrastructure providers and emergency managers have enhanced practical measures to improve readiness, reduction, response and recovery for major natural hazard events in the West Coast region of New Zealand. In doing so, the approach enabled an increase in the disaster resilience of a remote community.