Subasinghe Arachchilage Don, Chamila Tharanga (2011-12). Rebuilding for Sustainability: Spatial Analysis of Bolivar Peninsula after Hurricane Ike. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • Recurring extreme events of nature challenge disaster-prone settlements in complex ways. Devastating property damages are one of the tests of survival for such settlements in both economic and social terms. It also provides unique opportunities to rethink the environment cleared by massive natural disasters. However, rebuilding for long-term resiliency is one of the least investigated areas, particularly when employing tacit knowledge in the sustainable recovery process. This study examines the post-disaster rebuilding process in spatial terms for Bolivar Peninsula in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. It further investigates the nexus between connectivity among open space networks to various levels of surge damage among Bolivar spontaneous settlements. The study uses syntactical methods to measure axial connectivity of the Bolivar Peninsula access grid and one-way Analysis of Variance to interpret the way connectivity varies along the no damage to destroyed damage scale. In addition, the permeability rubric analyzes the elevation characteristics of houses that demonstrated higher probabilities of survival through a logistic regression. The conclusions are based on two basic premises. Local knowledge demands an indefinite time to be adapted and mobilized because of the increasing intensity of natural disasters. In addition, the high frequency of disaster events significantly challenges the versatility of local coping and survival strategies. The results reveal that the connectivity of the access grid has an inversely proportional relationship with various damage levels, particularly for no damage and destroyed. Furthermore, out of a number of resiliency characteristics listed in the literature, only ground elevation and ground enclosure demonstrated probability significances for survival. Potentially, the results of this research could support three significant outcomes pertaining to sustainable disaster recovery: preserving place character, social justice among affected groups, and promoting rapid recovery.

publication date

  • December 2011