Owner-driven housing reconstruction as a means of enhancing disaster resilience of at-risk communities in India

Vahanvati, M 2017, Owner-driven housing reconstruction as a means of enhancing disaster resilience of at-risk communities in India, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Global, Urban and Social Sciences, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Owner-driven housing reconstruction as a means of enhancing disaster resilience of at-risk communities in India
Author(s) Vahanvati, M
Year 2017
Abstract A key question facing disaster recovery scholars and practitioners is the mode of reconstruction in post-disaster context so as to trigger adaptability in the construction sector and disaster resilience in residents. Despite significant advancement in theoretical understanding of concepts (disaster, disaster risk, vulnerability and socio-ecological systems (SES) resilience) and approaches to post-disaster recovery (process-driven, multi-stakeholder, cross-disciplinary and an owner-driven housing reconstruction (ODHR)), linking reconstruction to resilience remains problematic. The literature review presented in this PhD with Publication discusses two main hurdles in reconstruction contributing to resilience objectives, as: one, a rather narrow focus on one’s field of expertise and two, the lack of research focused on the long-term impacts of ODHR projects. This PhD with publication aims to identify contingent yet generalisable issues and factors, which determine the success or failure of projects in terms of enhancing disaster resilience and long-term developmental needs of the community. In order to address the identified gap in the ODHR literature, this PhD has deployed a comparative case study research methodology, predominantly using qualitative/interpretative research methods. A mixed methods methodology, including some methods taken from built environment research and others from the social science, has been used. Four ODHR projects were selected from rural parts of India: two are from Gujarat, following the 2001 earthquake, while the other two case studies are from Bihar, after the 2008 Kosi River floods. The case studies in Gujarat allow investigating the long-term outcomes of the ODHR (13 years after the disaster), Bihar allows for the medium-term outcomes (6 years after the disaster). This research has been conducted in two stages and includes 80 in-depth interviews were conducted, including 34 CSO members, professionals and government official, 37 beneficiaries and 9 non-beneficiaries. The research findings from the four ODHR projects prove that the Indian CSOs have been able to link ODHR projects to long-term disaster resilience impacts in ways that have international significance. The CSO practice – from 2001 to 2008 – had also evolved from being ‘facilitators’ to ‘enablers’, seeking to build the capacities of locals from the early stages of reconstruction. These findings suggest that the projects where CSOs ensured: 1) systems based and strategic envisioning, 2) social mobilisation, 3) proposing minor technical modifications, and 4) sustaining capacity building efforts beyond reconstruction completion or beyond one project life cycle, had the potential to leave a legacy of disaster resilience (self-organising and capable residents). The findings were assimilated in a novel ODHR framework and illustrated in spiral form for use by practitioners, globally. The development of this framework is the most significant outcome of this PhD. However, the author urges practitioners to customise the framework to suit a particular context and to address its systemic challenges, prior to use. The most significant finding of all was a need to enhance people’s capabilities – their freedom to choose – to maintain their own disaster resilience.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Global, Urban and Social Sciences
Subjects Building Construction Management and Project Planning
Rural Sociology
Built Environment and Design not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) Post-Disaster Reconstruction
Owner-Driven approach
Community Disaster Resilience
Capacity Building
Construction Project Management
Systems Thinking
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Created: Thu, 31 May 2018, 14:51:55 EST by Adam Rivett
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