Financing Rapid Community Reconstruction After Catastrophic Disaster: Lessons from the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake in China

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Natural Hazards

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Catastrophic disasters can change the course of urban development and challenge the long-run sustainability of cities and regions. How to rapidly reconstruct communities impaired by catastrophic disaster is a world-wide challenge. The reconstruction after the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in China was an unusual case of very rapid reconstruction after a catastrophic disaster. Over US$147 billion was invested to rebuild the damaged areas within 3 years. The reconstruction was not simply building back what was destroyed, but was used as an opportunity to advance national goals for urbanization, rural transformation, and poverty reduction. In this article, we review how the reconstruction was planned, budgeted, and financed in the sociopolitical context of 2008 China. Particularly, we discuss two innovative programs, namely pair assistance and land-based financing. Despite the unique circumstances of China, lessons can be learned to speed up post-disaster reconstruction and urban development in other countries. Conversely, this case illustrates that a narrow focus on physical reconstruction may overlook broader economic and social issues.


© Springer Nature B.V. 2019



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