Governing community resilience: Interconnections between community resilience, well-being and capitals.

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Garcia, Martin

The lived reality of the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes and its implications for the Waimakariri District, a small but rapidly growing district (third tier of government in New Zealand) north of Christchurch, can illustrate how community well-being, community resilience, and community capitals interrelate in practice generating paradoxical results out of what can otherwise be conceived as a textbook ‘best practice’ case of earthquake recovery. The Waimakariri District Council’s integrated community based recovery framework designed and implemented post-earthquakes in the District was built upon strong political, social, and moral capital elements such as: inter-institutional integration and communication, participation, local knowledge, and social justice. This approach enabled very positive community outputs such as artistic community interventions of the urban environment and communal food forests amongst others. Yet, interests responding to broader economic and political processes (continuous central government interventions, insurance and reinsurance processes, changing socio-cultural patterns) produced a significant loss of community capitals (E.g.: social fragmentation, participation exhaustion, economic leakage, etc.) which simultaneously, despite local Council and community efforts, hindered community well-being in the long term. The story of the Waimakariri District helps understand how resilience governance operates in practice where multi-scalar, non-linear, paradoxical, dynamic, and uncertain outcomes appear to be the norm that underpins the construction of equitable, transformative, and sustainable pathways towards the future.

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