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Some lessons for resilience from the 2011 multi-disaster in Japan

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Local Environment
Issue number9
Number of pages6
Pages (from-to)937-942
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date7/11/11
<mark>Original language</mark>English


With the goal of resilience becoming ever more present in diverse policy discourses, it is important to reflect critically on its meaning and realisation. In this viewpoint, we reemphasise that understanding the systemic nature of social and ecological interactions and interdependencies is fundamental to developing resilience to shocks and stresses in whatever context they materialise. Through the lens of the 2011 Japanese multi-disaster, we reflect on some of the difficulties in generating knowledge to underpin resilience-building processes and illustrate some dilemmas inherent in seeking to cultivate resilience in practice. Events in Japan underscore the complex vulnerabilities of place in multi-hazard scenarios and highlight, in particular, the choices to be made in determining which systemic interactions are to be imagined, characterised, assessed and forewarned and which are not. These events also emphasise that while resilience ultimately must be located where consequences are felt, strategies for a resilient future have to take on the multi-scale interactions and tensions within which local processes are embedded. There are dangers, we argue, in thinking about resilience in overly simple and non-systemic ways and in responding to these challenges only as a matter of extended techno-managerial competence.