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Ahmed, I (2016) Housing and resilience: case studies from the Cook Islands. International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, 7(05), 489-500.

  • Type: Journal Article
  • Keywords: housing; resilience; climate change; cyclones; Cook Islands; evaluation tool
  • URL: https://doi.org/10.1108/IJDRBE-10-2015-0047
  • Abstract:
    Purpose The purpose of this paper is to discuss a tool for evaluating resilience of housing, which was tested in the Cook Islands. The Pacific Islands is widely known as being highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. In addition to long-term impacts such as sea level rise, current impacts such as tropical cyclones wreak havoc and the housing sector is often most severely affected. There is therefore a critical need for assessing the resilience of housing in the region. In response to that need, an evaluation tool for assessing housing resilience was developed, discussed in this paper. Design/methodology/approach The analytical framework of the tool consists of five main factors – inputs, output, result, impacts & effects and external factors – and the tool was tested in the Cook Islands. Two housing case studies implemented and/or facilitated by Australia-based agencies on two different island locations were examined: On Aitutaki, it was a reconstruction project built after Cyclone Pat in 2010; in Mangaia, it was a program for strengthening roofing against cyclones. Findings It was found that in different ways both the projects had improved the resilience of the beneficiary communities. However, a number of challenges were also evident in meeting the wider needs of the beneficiaries and long-term sustainability. The sustainability of these interventions, and indeed that of the islands facing severe resource constraints and rapid demographic and environmental change, posed serious questions. Originality/value The study allowed confirming the importance of the evaluation tool in the global context of climate change and consequent widespread disaster occurrence, and the devastating impact on the housing sector. In that respect, while there are obvious implications for other Pacific islands, the findings of the study offer wider global lessons for the multiplicity of agencies engaged in housing reconstruction, disaster risk reduction and development.