2 thoughts on “New Guide on Recovery from Australia

  1. This first-in-a-series of resources has been developed by researchers in Australia and New Zealand. Their aim is to guide communities by looking at the recovery process through the lens of the Seven Capitals framework. Given the wide spectrum of contexts (indigenous peoples, rural, suburban, urban) in which this document may be used, the authors consciously avoid specific prescriptions.

    There is a section for each of the Seven Capitals – Natural, Social, Financial, Cultural, Political and Built. The focus of each section is on the Capital’s role in disaster recovery, its impact within the community, and its connections to other capitals. Each section is further broken down into important attributes of that Capital. For each of these, there is a short statement of “What We Know” (encapsulating existing knowledge in the academic literature) that leads to things to “Consider” in developing recovery strategies.

    I firmly believe that the approach the authors have taken – looking at recovery through the lens of the Seven Capitals – is very useful (I’d better say that because I just finished revising a paper that does the same thing!). All in all, the authors have done a good job of going from what’s known to things to think about in developing a recovery strategy.

    Having pointed out what’s good, I also need to point out a few things that bothered me.
    • Maybe it’s just me, but I see recovery as a contact sport. In particular, recovery demands action. Action, of any kind, requires investment of resources – people, plans, money and so on. I think the authors missed a great opportunity to focus attention on this aspect of recovery.
    • In particular, there was too little focus on the assets associated with each capital, and their role in recovery. For example, the “Financial” section didn’t guide communities to consider what financial resources they already have, nor did it seem to consider government grants (nor the human capital needed to apply for them).
    • The “Political” section needs to include governance more – decision-making and implementation.
    • The “Natural” section included climate change (in a sort of left-handed way) but did then stated that its “interplay with disaster recovery needs further investigation.” They why include it?
    • There is an annoying amount of overlap. For example, relocation appeared in several sections, and too often seemed like variations on the same theme.

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