The role of local communities in a global risk landscape: Using Social Impact Assessment to understand, recognise, engage and empower community resilience in vulnerable regions

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    In the last three decades, disasters, especially climate-related disasters, have dramatically increased. This made understanding what is resilience and how to enhance it in society more crucial than ever. The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development reaffirmed the urgent need to enhance disaster risk reduction (DRR) and resilience in planned interventions to achieve the sustainable development goals.

    This study investigates the role Social Impact Assessment (SIA) has in understanding and empowering community resilience in vulnerable regions. Part 1 describes how community resilience came into action after the 6 April 2009 L’Aquila earthquake. It defines resilience in social terms and introduces the SIA Framework for Action, which was developed and applied to strengthen the resilience of communities in the L’Aquila mountain region. Part 2 focuses on interventions carried out by national and local civil protection authorities and on the failures to enhance resilience before and after the earthquake. Part 3 reflects on what must be learned and transformed in disaster management, development and impact assessment thinking and practice.

    Drawing from the L’Aquila case, this study conceptualises the mechanism enacted by states through which disaster capitalism flourishes creating second disasters. To enhance DRR and build resilience the mechanism must be abolished. A shift in disaster management and development from civil protection systems to decentralised, socially-sustainable community empowerment systems is needed. These systems must co-produce transformative knowledge to reduce risks, impacts and the local root causes of disaster and turn affected landscapes into landscapes of affect, rather than carcasses to exploit.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Vanclay, Frank, Supervisor
    • Strijker, Derk, Supervisor
    Award date10-Sept-2020
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Print ISBNs978-94-034-2513-9
    Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-2514-6
    Publication statusPublished - 2020

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