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Title: Overemphasis on recovery inhibits community transformation and creates resilience traps

Building community resilience in the face of climate disasters is critical to achieving a sustainable future. Operational approaches to resilience favor systems’ agile return to the status quo following a disruption. Here, we show that an overemphasis on recovery without accounting for transformation entrenches ‘resilience traps’–risk factors within a community that are predictive of recovery, but inhibit transformation. By quantifying resilience including both recovery and transformation, we identify risk factors which catalyze or inhibit transformation in a case study of community resilience in Florida during Hurricane Michael in 2018. We find that risk factors such as housing tenure, income inequality, and internet access have the capability to trigger transformation. Additionally, we find that 55% of key predictors of recovery are potential resilience traps, including factors related to poverty, ethnicity and mobility. Finally, we discuss maladaptation which could occur as a result of disaster policies which emphasize resilience traps.

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Nature Communications
Nature Publishing Group
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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