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Rhetoric of Recovering Resilient

Unveiling how Building Back Safer Transforms into Development for Prosperity

Kanako Iuchi

October 2018, English

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

After the great devastation caused by the 2013 typhoon Haiyan, Tacloban City, located in the Leyte Island of the Philippines, quickly approached rebuilding by adopting coastal resiliency measures (land use restriction, residential relocation, and levee construction) and developing a new urban core to accommodate resettling coastal residents who were dwelling informally along the coast. Minimizing future coastal risks was the City’s primary hope. With time, however, levee construction caused the City to consider the impact on coastal activities, and relocation resulted in financial difficulties for former coastal residents. When an alternative coastal protection strategy proposed a multi-level safety approach including constructing an embankment and reclamation to develop pleasant waterfront in its downtown areas to create economic value, the City realigned their rebuilding strategy from safety to for-profit, economic prosperity. This case explains how implementing the concept of increasing resilience against natural hazards is much more complicated than how it is rhetorically used in the development world, and that it often transforms into a common goal of economic prosperity.

Recommended citation: Iuchi, Kanako. 2018. “Unveiling How Building Back Safer Transforms into Development for Prosperity.” Case study. Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.


Disaster Recovery, Economic Development, Land Use, Planning, Resilience