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Resilience? Contested meanings and experiences in post-disaster Christchurch, New Zealand


The purpose of this paper is to improve understanding of the relationship between sense of place and community resilience, two concepts described and defined differently reflecting different disciplinary research, policies and practices. We draw on international literature that has focused on the interrelationship between these concepts in the context of natural disasters, as well as the findings of a multidisciplinary project in the post-earthquake Christchurch recovery context. We describe how we developed indicators of resilience linked to sense of place as it relates to home, neighbourhood and the city, including place-based social interaction and the role of scientific and technical information. Through integrating literature with the findings from project interviews and a survey, we offer new ways of considering ‘resilience’ and we discuss the implications of our findings for not just the Christchurch recovery, but for future response and recovery to natural disasters throughout New Zealand.

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