Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 2

Community Resilience Related Publications

2 Building Resilient Communities: The Traumatic Effect of Wildfire on Mati, Greece

Authors: K. Vallianou, T. Alexopoulos, V. Plaka, M. K. Seleventi, V. Skanavis, C. Skanavis

Abstract:

The present research addresses the role of place attachment and emotions in community resiliency and recovery within the context of a disaster. Natural disasters represent a disruption in the normal functioning of a community, leading to a general feeling of disorientation. This study draws on the trauma caused by a natural hazard such as a forest fire. The changes of the sense of togetherness are being assessed. Finally this research determines how the place attachment of the inhabitants was affected during the reorientation process of the community. The case study area is Mati, a small coastal town in eastern Attica, Greece. The fire broke out on July 23rd, 2018. A quantitative research was conducted through questionnaires via phone interviews, one year after the disaster, to address community resiliency in the long-run. The sample was composed of 159 participants from the rural community of Mati plus 120 coming from Skyros Island that was used as a control group. Inhabitants were prompted to answer items gauging their emotions related to the event, group identification and emotional significance of their community, and place attachment before and a year after the fire took place. Importantly, the community recovery and reorientation were examined within the context of a relative absence of government backing and official support. Emotions related to the event were aggregated into 4 clusters related to: activation/vigilance, distress/disorientation, indignation, and helplessness. The findings revealed a decrease in the level of place attachment in the impacted area of Mati as compared to the control group of Skyros Island. Importantly, initial distress caused by the fire prompted the residents to identify more with their community and to report more positive feelings toward their community. Moreover, a mediation analysis indicated that the positive effect of community cohesion on place attachment one year after the disaster was mediated by the positive feelings toward the community. Finally, place attachment contributes to enhanced optimism and a more positive perspective concerning Mati’s future prospects. Despite an insufficient state support to this affected area, the findings suggest an important role of emotions and place attachment during the process of recovery. Implications concerning the role of emotions and social dynamics in meshing place attachment during the disaster recovery process as well as community resiliency are discussed.

Keywords: natural disasters, wildfire, Community Resilience, Place Attachment

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1 Climate Safe House: A Community Housing Project Tackling Catastrophic Sea Level Rise in Coastal Communities

Authors: Chris Fersterer, Col Fay, Tobias Danielmeier, Kat Achterberg, Scott Willis

Abstract:

New Zealand, an island nation, has an extensive coastline peppered with small communities of iconic buildings known as Bachs. Post WWII, these modest buildings were constructed by their owners as retreats and generally were small, low cost, often using recycled material and often they fell below current acceptable building standards. In the latter part of the 20th century, real estate prices in many of these communities remained low and these areas became permanent residences for people attracted to this affordable lifestyle choice. The Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust (BRCT) is an organisation that recognises the vulnerability of communities in low lying settlements as now being prone to increased flood threat brought about by climate change and sea level rise. Some of the inhabitants of Blueskin Bay, Otago, NZ have already found their properties to be un-insurable because of increased frequency of flood events and property values have slumped accordingly. Territorial authorities also acknowledge this increased risk and have created additional compliance measures for new buildings that are less than 2 m above tidal peaks. Community resilience becomes an additional concern where inhabitants are attracted to a lifestyle associated with a specific location and its people when this lifestyle is unable to be met in a suburban or city context. Traditional models of social housing fail to provide the sense of community connectedness and identity enjoyed by the current residents of Blueskin Bay. BRCT have partnered with the Otago Polytechnic Design School to design a new form of community housing that can react to this environmental change. It is a longitudinal project incorporating participatory approaches as a means of getting people ‘on board’, to understand complex systems and co-develop solutions. In the first period, they are seeking industry support and funding to develop a transportable and fully self-contained housing model that exploits current technologies. BRCT also hope that the building will become an educational tool to highlight climate change issues facing us today. This paper uses the Climate Safe House (CSH) as a case study for education in architectural sustainability through experiential learning offered as part of the Otago Polytechnics Bachelor of Design. Students engage with the project with research methodologies, including site surveys, resident interviews, data sourced from government agencies and physical modelling. The process involves collaboration across design disciplines including product and interior design but also includes connections with industry, both within the education institution and stakeholder industries introduced through BRCT. This project offers a rich learning environment where students become engaged through project based learning within a community of practice, including architecture, construction, energy and other related fields. The design outcomes are expressed in a series of public exhibitions and forums where community input is sought in a truly participatory process.

Keywords: Case study, Community Resilience, Project Based Learning, problem based learning

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