Neighborhood structure, social capital, and community resilience: longitudinal evidence from the 2011 Brisbane flood disaster

Wickes, Rebecca, Zahnow, Renee, Taylor, Melanie and Piquero, Alex R. (2015) Neighborhood structure, social capital, and community resilience: longitudinal evidence from the 2011 Brisbane flood disaster. Social Science Quarterly, 96 2: 330-353. doi:10.1111/ssqu.12144


Author Wickes, Rebecca
Zahnow, Renee
Taylor, Melanie
Piquero, Alex R.
Title Neighborhood structure, social capital, and community resilience: longitudinal evidence from the 2011 Brisbane flood disaster
Journal name Social Science Quarterly   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1540-6237
0038-4941
Publication date 2015-06-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/ssqu.12144
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 96
Issue 2
Start page 330
End page 353
Total pages 24
Place of publication Hoboken NJ, United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective
Whether a community can demonstrate resilience following a disaster largely depends on the pre-disaster context. Community disadvantage, the concentration of vulnerable and ethnically diverse groups, and high levels of residential mobility in the pre-disaster environment make it difficult for communities to “bounce back” following a disaster. The lack of social capital in the pre-disaster context also hinders community resilience. Yet there is scant research that assesses the extent to which pre-disaster structural conditions and the availability of local social capital influence community resilience post-disaster.

Methods
We use administrative and longitudinal survey data from over 4,000 residents living in 148 urban communities in an Australian capital city (Brisbane). The survey data were collected before a major flooding event in 2011 and again 15 months post-disaster to examine the influence of prior levels of social capital on community resilience. Our indicator of community resilience is an index of perceived community problems before and after disaster.

Results
Community problems were significantly lower in flooded communities when compared with nonflooded communities. Although higher levels of social capital were associated with lower community problems post-flood, the effect of social capital on these problems did not differ in flooded and nonflooded areas. However, the concentration of vulnerable groups did lead to greater problems in flooded communities post-disaster.

Conclusion
Although social capital may reduce local community problems under normal conditions, it may have a limited effect on reducing community problems in a post-disaster environment. In contrast, the structural conditions of a neighborhood before flood have lasting and negative effects on community problems.
Keyword Political Science
Sociology
Government & Law
Sociology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID RO700002
Institutional Status UQ

 
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