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5 Perspectives on Recovery and Resiliency


Destroyed home following the 2007 Central Florida Tornadoes. Temporary housing was provided for this individual while they recovered from the destruction.

Recovering from disaster requires various commitments from local government, ranging from financing recovery efforts to remaining patient with frustrated residents. It is also a social process that, ideally, engages a full range of partners to rebuild a safer community for all.

Below are five perspectives and resources on recovery, resiliency, and the key role local government plays in creating a safer community after disaster strikes.

5 Perspectives on Recovery and Resiliency

“Most agree that the key factor in successful long-term recovery is local leadership. A clear vision, a well-defined plan, broad and diverse funding to finance the recovery, a supportive and involved business community, and effective partnerships at the federal, state, and local levels all contribute to successful long-term recovery. The biggest difference, however, is effective leadership.”

From “Disaster Recovery: A Local Government Responsibility” written by Christine Becker

“Local governments are unique. There is no buffer between the city and city hall. This intimate relationship that an electorate has with the leaders positions local governments well to handle not only acute disruptions, but the prolonged, insidious problems. What distinguishes resilient communities from recovering communities is the level of growth in capacity. Staff and the public are better equipped to handle future disruptions. There is greater understanding of organizational and community strengths and vulnerabilities. Lastly, there is an unrelenting and cultural commitment to incorporating the principles of economic, environmental, and emotional resilience.”

From “Recovery Does Not Equal Resilience: Lessons On Economic, Environmental, and Emotional Resilience” from the Alliance for Innovation BIG Ideas 2014

“At a fundamental level, disaster recovery requires the balancing of practical matters with broad policy opportunities. For example, understanding the range of federal assistance and how funding can be used or combined to meet needs and managing project development are necessary skills that should only be executed with the community’s broader long-term recovery goals in mind. To effectively recover, state and local communities must have the ability to manage their needs. The capacity may not currently exist, but there needs to be a foundation to build capabilities. Pre-disaster recovery and mitigation planning, when integrated with other local planning efforts, aligns community priorities, sets roles and expectations, and enables rapid implementation.”

From “Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation” by the American Planning Association

“As the community picks up the pieces after a disaster and begins to rebuild, there is a window of opportunity. It is a time to fashion a new vision of the future, where people are safe from the fear of yet more devastation caused by human occupancy of hazardous areas without sufficient attention to land use planning, building codes, emergency preparedness and other steps to deal with the normal and foreseeable processes of Mother Nature.”

From “Post Disaster Reconstruction: The Patchwork Quilt: A Creative Strategy for Safe & Long Term Post-Disaster Rebuilding” written by Edward A. Thomas, Esq. & Sarah K. Bowen, CFM

“Disaster resilience is everyone’s business and is a shared responsibility among citizens, the private sector, and government. Increasing resilience to disasters requires bold decisions and actions that may pit short-term interests against longer-term goals. As a nation we have two choices. We can maintain the status quo and move along as we have for decades—addressing important, immediate issues such as the solvency of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the most effective ways to discourage development in high-risk areas, and how to improve the speed and effectiveness disaster response. Or, we can embark on a new path—one that also recognizes and rewards the values of resilience to the individual, household, community, and the nation. Such a path requires a commitment to a new vision that includes shared responsibility for resilience and one that puts resilience in the forefront of many of our public policies that have both direct and indirect effects on enhancing resilience.”

From “Disaster Resilience a National Imperative” by Committee on Increasing National Resilience to Hazards and Disasters