Sustainability and Community Resilience: The Holy Grail of Hazards Planning?

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Recent hazard literature frequently refers to sustainability and resilience as the guiding principles behind effective hazard planning. Certainly, structurally organizing communities to minimize effects of disasters and to recover quickly by restoring socio-economic vitality are laudable goals. However, while anticipating such outcomes is relatively easy from a theoretical standpoint, practical implementation of comprehensive plans is much more elusive. Indeed, relationships between community sustainability/resilience and hazards are complex involving many social, economic, political and physical factors. A conceptual framework for analysis of sustainability and resilience, then, is described based on three theoretical models, a mitigation model, a recovery model, and a structural-cognitive model. This framework is examined using data from Florida, USA, where local context, social and political activities, and economic concerns present difficulties in application. The question remains, therefore, to what extent can communities truly develop sustainable and resilient characteristics?

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Global Environmental Change Part B: Environmental Hazards, v. 1, issue 1, p. 13-25