Building a Theory of Recovery: Institutional Dimensions

August 2012 (VOL. 30, NO. 2)

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This article discusses the institutional arrangements that influence pre-disaster planning for recovery, and, more importantly, post-disaster recovery outcomes. The importance and value of planning for disaster recovery is well known in the disaster literature, although not often practiced as well as it could be. A theory of disaster recovery must therefore account for the institutional environment referred to here as the disaster recovery assistance framework. Describing the underlying dimensions of this network will help to clarify the process of recovery, uncover ways to improve recovery outcomes, and define the factors that influence the achievement of improved outcomes. Part of the challenge will be in defining these improved outcomes, which could include increased levels of disaster resilience or achieving a more sustainable disaster recovery.