American Society of Civil Engineers

Building Hazard Resilient Communities in Coastal Southeast Asia: Lessons for Research, Policy, and Practice

by Frank Thomalla, (Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm, Sweden and Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm, Sweden E-mail:, Rasmus Klocker Larsen, (Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm, Sweden and Unit for Environmental Communication, Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden. E-mail:, Lele Zou, (Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China E-mail:, and Fiona Miller, (School of Resource Management and Geography, The University of Melbourne, 3010 VIC, Australia. and Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm, Sweden E-mail:
Section: Social Sciences and Coastal Disasters, pp. 952-967, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Solutions to Coastal Disasters 2008
Abstract: Drawing on a systematic review of coastal hazard vulnerability in Southeast Asia, an analysis of emerging post-disaster vulnerabilities in Sri Lanka and Indonesia after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, and a global consultative process and expert analysis of the human dimensions of vulnerability to global environmental change that included an analysis of coastal urbanization and climate change, this paper aims to summarise key findings on the state of knowledge of the causal factors contributing to social vulnerability to coastal hazards and the relevance of current research for practitioners and policymakers. Whilst the scientific understanding of the increasingly complex and interacting socio-economic and environmental processes contributing to vulnerability has improved considerably during the last decades, important challenges remain in translating these insights into operational assessment methodologies for practitioners and tools for decision-makers to develop effective management strategies and policies to reduce vulnerability and build resilience against environmental risks. The results of this analysis indicate an urgent need to develop and apply approaches that focus more strongly on the needs of those affected by disasters and to create processes that enable better communication and learning between researchers, practitioners and policymakers.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Coastal environment
Community development
Natural hazards