Over the past quarter century, the number of disasters has increased annually. It can take communities years, if not decades, to recover from such disasters. Resilience allows a community to withstand disaster impacts and recover more rapidly. Therefore, improving community resilience should be a major goal of development. However, although building resilience is a frequently stated recovery goal, there has been little research to uncover what is required to build a community back better. We begin this paper with a discussion of definitions of recovery and existing indicators for measuring recovery. Following, we discuss the metrics of community resilience to disasters. We then outline planned research into the pathways to recovery following two disasters: Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The key research objectives are to (1) examine why communities facing the same disaster recover differentially and (2) determine pathways to successful disaster recovery by analyzing the combinatorial causal conditions of pre-disaster community factors, disaster response engineering and planning efforts. We propose to address these questions using a cross-comparative case study using Ragin’s multi-value Qualitative Comparative Analysis (mvQCA), with causal factors and outcome indicators identified through a combined content analysis and Delphi panel approach. This research is expected to result in several major contributions to the field of disaster recovery. First, this research will determine where community planners should focus their efforts based upon the pathways to recovery of a community after a disaster. A second contribution will be the development of a disaster recovery framework populated with data from this study. This research will help to transform the way we analyze and compare data across multiple cases within disaster recovery research.
Jordan, E., Javernick-Will A., and Amadei, B. (2011). "Pathways to Community Recovery and Resiliency." Engineering Project Organization Conference. Estes Park, CO.