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Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory for modelling community resilience to natural disasters

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Abstract

This paper advocates the use of Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory as a framework to analyse resilience at diverse scales. Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory can be employed to (a) benchmark social resilience, (b) target the priority interventions required and (c) measure progress arising from these interventions to enhance resilience to natural disasters. First, the paper explores resilience to natural disasters in the context of climatic change as building resilience is seen as a way to mitigate impacts of natural disasters. Second, concepts of resilience are systematically examined and documented, outlining resilience as a trait and resilience as a process. Third, issues arising in relation to the measurement of resilience are discussed. Fourth, Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological systems theory is described and proffered to model and assess resilience at different scales. Fifth, studies are described which have supported the use of the bioecological systems theory for the study of resilience. Sixth, an example of the use of Bronfenbrenner’s theory is offered and the paper concludes with suggestions for future research using Bronfenbrenner’s theory.

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Acknowledgments

This work was funded through the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, which is an initiative of, and funded by the Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, with additional funding from the Queensland Government, Griffith University, Macquarie University, Queensland University of Technology, James Cook University, The University of Newcastle, Murdoch University, University of Southern Queensland and University of the Sunshine Coast. The role of NCCARF is to lead the research community in a national interdisciplinary effort to generate the information needed by decision-makers in government and in vulnerable sectors and communities to manage the risk of climate change impacts.

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Boon, H.J., Cottrell, A., King, D. et al. Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory for modelling community resilience to natural disasters. Nat Hazards 60, 381–408 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-011-0021-4

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