(October 2012) Long term disaster recovery: What can we learn for resilience? The case study of the recovery of the city of Kalamata after the 1986 earthquake.
As the world is becoming more and more a network of urban centres, their growing vulnerability to natural or/and human-made disasters is affecting everyone, more or less directly. It is due to the rapid urbanization trends that often create high densities in urban areas without adequate planning regulations combined with the multiple threats from natural hazards and climate change consequences, both experiencing an accelerating trend, that cities are argued to be today the most vulnerable parts of our world. Within this context, this paper seeks to explore urban resilience to natural hazards through the perspective of long-term disaster recovery. Instead of researching the way the resilience of a city hit by a natural disaster influences its recovery, it explores how the recovery planning choices have influenced the city’s post-disaster resilience. Understanding how planning choices affect a city’s resilience is critical in order to apply prevention measures in vulnerable urban areas. In order to explore the above problematic this research uses as a case study the city of Kalamata, Greece that was hit by a devastating earthquake in 1986 and is today going through the long-term disaster recovery phase. The method to be used includes the examination of different indicators on a longitudinal basis and the analysis of the findings in order to evaluate the policy choices on the long term.