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Title: Urban disaster resilience : learning from the 2011 Bangkok flood
Author: Sitko, Pamela
ISNI:       0000 0004 7230 6463
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2016
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Reducing disaster risk, managing rapid urbanisation and tackling poverty is an enormous challenge, particularly in vulnerable neighbourhoods in low and middle-income countries. By 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in towns and cities, with 95 per cent of future urban expansion in the global South. At the same time, disasters are increasing in frequency, severity and intensity. Poorer people in vulnerable neighbourhoods are least equipped to cope with the threat of disaster. When flooding struck Thailand’s capital city Bangkok in 2011, the United Nations estimated that 73 per cent of low-income households were badly affected (UNISDR 2013). With disasters in cities on the rise, current thinking suggests that resilience offers valuable insights for reducing risk. This research seeks to develop and validate a conceptual framework for understanding urban disaster resilience in low-income neighbourhoods. It combines two urban approaches. The first, complex adaptive systems (CAS), views the city as a combination of inter-dependent parts working together at a multitude of scales that shapes its overall behaviour. The second, urban morphology, seeks to understand the creation of urban form by establishing connections between the city’s historical economic, political and social transformations to its modern day form. The conceptual framework was applied to three low-income neighbourhoods in Bangkok affected by the 2011 flood. Through a case study approach, qualitative information was gathered and analysed in order to understand city-scale and neighbourhood level transformations that built patterns of vulnerability and resilience to chronic stresses and acute shocks. This research concludes that combining CAS and morphology provides a valuable conceptual framework for understanding urban disaster resilience. Such a framework places people at the centre while providing a scalar and temporal analysis of co-evolving acute and chronic risks in urban areas. Moreover, the intersections of CAS and urban morphology identify dimensions of resilience, where human systems and the built environment affect each other in a positive or negative ways – before, during and after a disaster. Overall, this research concludes that resilience needs to be built both before and after a disaster to be effective, and that disaster itself is a test of how systems and the built environment have learned from history about how to cope with and adapt to shocks and stresses. To these ends, urban disaster resilience can be defined as the ways in which the built environment, complex adaptive systems and people interact to cope, adapt and transform in order to reduce disaster risk.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available