Post-Disaster Reconstruction Models: The Governance of Urban Disasters in China, Iran and Myanmar

Helen James

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    A preponderance of the world’s population is expected to live in urban environments by 2050 (ADB, Asia 2050: realizing the Asian century. ADB, Manila, 2011). Cities as sites of vulnerability for disasters originating from both natural and man-made causes are attracting considerable research on understanding the crosscultural and governance dynamics associated with large-scale mortalities (Paton and Jang, Disaster resilience: exploring all-hazards and cross-cultural perspectives. In: Miller D, Rivera J (eds) Community disaster recovery ad resiliency: exploring global opportunities and challenges (pp 81–100). Taylor and Francis, Oxford, 2011;Paton and Violanti, Working in high risk environments: developing sustained resilience . Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, Illinois, 2012; Pelling, Vulnerability of cities: natural disasters and social resilience. Earthscan, London, 2003, Adaptation to climate change: from resilience to transformation. Routledge, London/New York, 2011). Disaster risk reduction policies of various Asian regional governments are currently exploring pragmatic approaches to recover and reconstruct lives, families and livelihoods of those affected. Examination of adaptation to trauma arising from large-scale losses in various cross-cultural contexts and different governance regimes presents the possibility of deriving new insights into practical disaster reconstruction models and policies. As such, this paper highlights the fundamental contributions of specific sociocultural and governance frameworks in disaster reconstruction policy. In so doing, the chapter investigates various urban disaster sites—namely, Bam and Tabriz (Iran), Pyapon, Bogale and Labutta (Myanmar) and Beichuan and Yingxue (People’s Republic of China, PRC)—where large-scale mortalities arising from earthquakes and a cyclone warrant attention by those researching on disaster resilience, recovery and reconstruction. Based on the fieldwork in the aforementioned disaster sites, this chapter suggests that while the physical reconstruction of a livable habitat is important, the sociocultural factors in enabling disaster-impacted communities to reconstruct peoples’ daily lives are of greater importance in the long-term recovery. Through the lens of civil society, difficulties in adapting to new realities around an engaged future are highlighted.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDisaster Governance in Urbanising Asia
    Editors Michelle Ann Miller and Mike Douglass
    Place of PublicationSingapore
    ISBN (Print)9789812876485
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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