Problem, research strategy, and findings: The number of people displaced either temporarily or permanently from natural disasters has been increasing at an unprecedented rate. As a result, there is a growing need for a systematic framework of resettlement planning after disasters, to either rebuild in place (in situ) or to relocate, and whether to do so independently or collaboratively with their neighbors. To gain an in-depth understanding of how resettlement is advanced, I focus on a region in Chuetsu, Japan, supplemented with cases in New Orleans (LA) and Tohoku, Japan. Results suggest that resettlement decisions, processes, and outcomes reflect both larger socioeconomic trends and interactions between governments, communities, and households. Although the governments' speed of resettlement planning and implementation initially set the pace, informal communication within communities most influenced decision making. In addition, inherent community dynamics, especially styles of communication, directly influenced resettlement decisions and outcomes.Takeaway for practice: Although every disaster is unique in its context, communities are the key players in determining resettlement outcomes. Key points of consideration include: a) resettlement decision processes vary based on the inherent characteristics of communities; b) government officials often emphasize speed, even though it undermines overall quality of rebuilding; c) reestablishing livelihoods of equal or greater satisfaction to that before the disaster is important; and d) local communities are often capable of identifying and acting for their needs, regardless of governmental intentions. Planners need to support the establishment of a system in which communities are empowered by governments to make the most suitable decisions for sustainable livelihood recovery.
- livelihood restoration
- planning decisions and processes
- post-disaster resettlement
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Urban Studies