Roles of people, community and planning in recovery after Mega-Disasters: A symposium synopsis

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The concept of ‘building back better’ is being mainstreamed in international development tominimize future devastation from natural disasters. This paper reports on presentations and discussions from the Second International Symposium on Recovery afterMega Disasters: People, Community and Planning, held March 16, 2015 during the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. International experts, including practitioners and researchers, presented varied recovery efforts and insights. The three following principles emerged from the symposium. 1) Relocation, compact (re)development, renewable energy, and flood controls are key policy focuses in recovery plans, and require careful individual and community involvement, planning designs, and information sharing. 2) Identifying unique local resources is key for successful recovery and can help formulate innovative strategies. 3) As rebuilding that considers local culture, systems, and groups aids in resilient recovery, planning practitioners need in-depth understanding of local contexts to derive better solutions. Given these three principles, participants agreed that at its core, the concept of ‘building back better’ requires tailormade planning designs and processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-516
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Disaster Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Build back better
  • Community participation
  • Disaster recovery
  • Recovery planning


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