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Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory for modelling community resilience to natural disasters

  • Helen Boon


  • Alison Cottrell
  • David King
  • Robert Stevenson
  • Joanne Millar
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    This paper advocates the use of Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory as a framework to analyse resilience at diverse scales. Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory can be employed to (a) benchmark social resilience, (b) target the priority interventions required and (c) measure progress arising from these interventions to enhance resilience to natural disasters. First, the paper explores resilience to natural disasters in the context of climatic change as building resilience is seen as a way to mitigate impacts of natural disasters. Second, concepts of resilience are systematically examined and documented, outlining resilience as a trait and resilience as a process. Third, issues arising in relation to the measurement of resilience are discussed. Fourth, Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological systems theory is described and proffered to model and assess resilience at different scales. Fifth, studies are described which have supported the use of the bioecological systems theory for the study of resilience. Sixth, an example of the use of Bronfenbrenner’s theory is offered and the paper concludes with suggestions for future research using Bronfenbrenner’s theory. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

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    Article provided by International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards in its journal Natural Hazards.

    Volume (Year): 60 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 (January)
    Pages: 381-408

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:nathaz:v:60:y:2012:i:2:p:381-408
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    1. Stéphane Hallegatte & Fanny Henriet & Jan Corfee-Morlot, 2011. "The economics of climate change impacts and policy benefits at city scale: a conceptual framework," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 104(1), pages 51-87, January.
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    3. Batabyal, Amitrajeet A., 1998. "The concept of resilience: retrospect and prospect," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 221-262, May.
    4. B. Glavovic & W. Saunders & J. Becker, 2010. "Land-use planning for natural hazards in New Zealand: the setting, barriers, ‘burning issues’ and priority actions," Natural Hazards, International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 54(3), pages 679-706, September.
    5. David King, 2007. "Organisations in Disaster," Natural Hazards, International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 40(3), pages 657-665, March.
    6. L. Randall Wray & Stephanie Bell, 2004. "Introduction," Chapters, in: Credit and State Theories of Money, chapter 1 Edward Elgar.
    7. Brenda Murphy, 2007. "Locating social capital in resilient community-level emergency management," Natural Hazards, International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 41(2), pages 297-315, May.
    8. Geraldine Li, 2009. "Tropical cyclone risk perceptions in Darwin, Australia: a comparison of different residential groups," Natural Hazards, International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 48(3), pages 365-382, March.
    9. Jo Beall, 2001. "From social networks to public action in urban governance: where does benefit accrue?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(7), pages 1015-1021.
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