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Disruption and recovery of intangible resources during environmental crises: Longitudinal research on 'home' in post-disaster Puerto Rico

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Abstract

There are many strategies and models that attempt to measure the impacts and losses from environmental crises. However, there remains a conceptual and methodological bias as assessments provide estimates of tangible and quantifiable indicators, whilst impact to intangible resources that are not easily quantifiable remain a significant oversight in disaster studies more specifically, and sustainability research more broadly. In this paper we use in-depth longitudinal qualitative data to theoretically and empirically demonstrate how intangible resources shape people's experience of so-called "natural" disasters. Building on this, we critically unpack how intangible resources facilitate household disaster recovery. We focus on home-an intangible resource-in order to explore these issues. The case study in Puerto Rico shows that the social characteristics of home are challenged, transformed, and/or exacerbated in different ways, and at different times, in post-disaster contexts. Our longitudinal approach reveals how people's feelings of belonging and attachment, alienation and detachment from home, fluctuate over time. In this way, the paper sheds light on how intangible resources are experienced temporally and spatially. The paper also reveals that the performance of actors such as the State and Non-governmental organisations significantly shape how intangible resources such as home are transformed, and households' agency to maintain and recover such intangibles in post-disaster contexts. The analysis directly challenges the skewed and reductive hierarchies of what counts as a disaster loss. This is an innately political endeavour because it aims to develop strategic decision-making, from preparedness to recovery, that is sustainable for affected populations. Introduction:

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Our contribution is to show that the relationship between wealth and disasters is mainly formed by the exposure to disaster hazard. We first build a simple analytical model that demonstrates how countries that face a low hazard of disasters are likely to see first increasing losses and then decreasing ones with increasing economic development. At the same time, countries that face a high hazard of disasters are likely to experience first decreasing losses and then increasing ones with increasing economic development. We then use a cross-country panel dataset in conjunction with a hazard exposure index to investigate whether the data is consistent with the predictions from the model. In line with our model, we find that the relationship of losses with wealth crucially depends on the level of hazard of natural disasters faced by countries.
Sustainability assessment is a recent framing of impact assessment that places emphasis on delivering positive net sustainability gains now and into the future. It can be directed to any type of decision-making, can take many forms and is fundamentally pluralistic. Drawing mainly on theoretical papers along with the few case study examples published to date (from England, Western Australia, South Africa and Canada), this paper outlines what might be considered state-of-the-art sustainability assessment. Such processes must: (i) address sustainability imperatives with positive progress towards sustainability; (ii) establish a workable concept of sustainability in the context of individual decisions/assessments; (iii) adopt formal mechanisms for managing unavoidable trade-offs in an open, participative and accountable manner; (iv) embrace the pluralistic inevitabilities of sustainability assessment; and (v) engender learning throughout. We postulate that sustainability assessment may be at the beginning of a phase of expansion not seen since environmental impact assessment was adopted worldwide.
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This review surveys an emergent methodological trend in anthropological research that concerns the adaptation of long-standing modes of ethnographic practices to more complex objects of study. Ethnography moves from its conventional single-site location, contextualized by macro-constructions of a larger social order, such as the capitalist world system, to multiple sites of observation and participation that cross-cut dichotomies such as the “local” and the “global,” the “lifeworld” and the “system.” Resulting ethnographies are therefore both in and out of the world system. The anxieties to which this methodological shift gives rise are considered in terms of testing the limits of ethnography, attenuating the power of fieldwork, and losing the perspective of the subaltern. The emergence of multi-sited ethnography is located within new spheres of interdisciplinary work, including media studies, science and technology studies, and cultural studies broadly. Several “tracking” strategies that shape multi-site...
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The cities of Latin America are expanding rapidly largely through the energy and efforts of ordinary people who are creating their own dwelling environments in informal settlements with varying degrees of support or condemnation from municipal authorities. Although there is considerable diversity between settlements, most share three key characteristics. Firstly, these environments are conceived and constructed by the occupants themselves independently of external controls or professional advice; secondly, occupation and construction frequently take place simultaneously; and thirdly, such places are usually in a process of dynamic change and demonstrate considerable ingenuity and creativity within limited resource constraints. To explore these process of informal place-making and the resulting environments this chapter draws on data from a study of squatter settlements in northern Colombia. Through analysis of the processes of making, both collectively and at household level, we will gain insights into the multiple influences on the decision-making processes involved. Far from the common image of inadequate, chaotically organised places it will be argued that these environments respond to clear, culturally embedded ideas about how cities and dwellings should be configured.
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This paper provides insights into the dynamic linkages between the ongoing construction of houses for people displaced by war and disaster, conceptions of homemaking and processes of recovery and reconstruction in the post-tsunami context in Sri Lanka. In so doing, it also uncovers the dilemmas and ambiguities that are embedded in the recovery process. A case from Eastern Province, Sri Lanka illustrates how recovery works in local areas are driven by various stakeholders from outside, whose negotiations and power, voices and preferences, both independently and collectively, define the scope for homemaking processes. Our findings recommend that debates of ‘building back better’ following such disasters should embody an understanding of houses as political, cultural, social and economic constructs, and be cognizant of the wider processes of homemaking.
Article
The central focus of this paper is the notion that the home can provide a locale in which people can work at attaining a sense of ontological security in a world that at times is experienced as threatening and uncontrollable. The paper builds on and develops the ideas of Giddens and Saunders on ontological security and seeks to break down and operationalise the concept and explore it through a set of empirical data drawn from interviews with a group of older New Zealand home owners. The extent to which home and home life meets the conditions for the maintenance of ontological security is assessed through an exploration of home as the site of constancy in the social and material environment; home as a spatial context in which the day to day routines of human existence are performed; home as a site free from the surveillance that is part of the contemporary world which allows for a sense of control that is missing in other locales; and home as a secure base around which identities are constructed. The paper also argues that meanings of home are context specific and thus the data need to be seen in relation to New Zealanders’ long standing pre-occupation with land and home ownership. The paper concludes by speculating on how meanings of home may be changing.
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A disaster is a serious disruption for the operation of a society, causing extensive lives and property losses. Since construction activities are highly knowledge-intensive, knowledge management (KM) practices will encourage continuous improvement, distribute best practices, quick respond to beneficiaries, share valuable tacit knowledge, reduce rework, improve competitiveness and innovations, and reduce complexities in post disaster housing reconstruction. Therefore, this research is to study and explore the degree to which the KM is involved in post disaster housing reconstruction and the effect that (KM) have on it (post disaster housing reconstruction) in the Sri Lankan context. This study was done through systematically reviewing the literature in Knowledge (K), KM to highlight the basic principles. Data collection mode for the study was close end questionnaires and semi structured interviews. Data was collected from donor and consultancy organisations who are involved in post disaster housing reconstruction in Sri Lanka.
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IntroductionGeography of EmotionsGender and SexualityHousing and IdentityTransnational Homes and CommunitiesHome and EmpireConclusion
Article
In recent years there has been a proliferation of writing on the meaning of home within the disciplines of sociology, anthropology, psychology, human geography, history, architecture and philosophy. Although many researchers now understand home as a multidimensional concept and acknowledge the presence of and need for multidisciplinary research in the field, there has been little sustained reflection and critique of the multidisciplinary field of home research and the diverse, even contradictory meanings of this term. This paper brings together and examines the dominant and recurring ideas about home represented in the relevant theoretical and empirical literature. It raises the question whether or not home is (a) place(s), (a) space(s), feeling(s), practices, and/or an active state of state of being in the world? Home is variously described in the literature as conflated with or related to house, family, haven, self, gender, and journeying. Many authors also consider notions of being-at-home, creating or making home and the ideal home. In an effort to facilitate interdisciplinary conversations about the meaning and experience of home each of these themes are briefly considered in this critical literature review.