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date: 26 September 2022

Community Resilience and Earthquakes: The Role of Neighborhood—A Case Study From Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealandlocked

Community Resilience and Earthquakes: The Role of Neighborhood—A Case Study From Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealandlocked

  • Karen BanwellKaren BanwellSchool of Earth and Environment, University of Canterbury

Summary

It is well recognized that preexisting social connections and networks help people adapt and provide for more positive outcomes in the aftermath of a disaster. The role of place, of local neighborhood, in helping people to adapt and manage through the difficult times is developing. Neighborhood, the place where people live, can help facilitate the important informal response to disasters—where residents come together and provide mutual support. Features such as well-defined geography, intimate streets, walkable access to social infrastructure and natural spaces, and central meeting places all help to build the social connections that foster community resilience. Another important element is the community-focused groups that are already in place, especially ones with people who know their areas and who to support. Community resilience is a consequence of having good social connections, with social infrastructure helping to facilitate those connections; these are the same social and physical characteristics of neighborhoods that influence local health and well-being. The main message is that it is possible to develop urban environments in a way that provides multiple benefits. Social connections make people happier and healthier; they can learn from village life that can improve their future living environments, ones that are healthy and resilient. A vibrant well-connected neighborhood community with walkable access to natural spaces, to local shops and schools, and to places for locals to gather is healthy, self-reliant, and more resilient.

Subjects

  • Disaster Preparation & Response

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