The theory and practice of building back better

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Disaster recovery poses difficult challenges to planners, however. Although there is a growing literature of individual recovery cases, few comparative studies exist, and few guidebooks tell planners how to do recovery. Only recently has a literature of recovery theory begun to grow. Gavin Smith, who served as the director of recovery and renewal for the State of Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina, describes in his Planning Note many of the connections between planning theory and disaster recovery. The contributions included in this special issue are of various types, from historical overviews, to deep analyses of particular cases, to comparative case studies. Some researchers in this issue drill deeply into community and neighborhood-level processes after catastrophic events and examine the interplay between plans and policies and the pace and nature of recovery. Others focus on critical decisions at higher levels of intervention. They document and measure the effectiveness of recovery efforts using both qualitative and quantitative methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-292
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Planning Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Urban Studies


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