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Relocalisation for degrowth and disaster risk reduction

Oluwadunsin Moromoke Ajulo (School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia)
Jason von Meding (Florida Institute for Built Environment Resilience, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA)
Patrick Tang (School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 28 April 2020

Issue publication date: 30 November 2020




Vulnerability is understood as susceptibility to hazards born out of the complex interaction within the system scales. The current global economic system focuses on persistent growth and a top-down approach to wealth distribution, which not only puts a strain on the Earth's resources but also on communities by increasing vulnerability. Localised economy, on the other hand, uses a bottom-up approach to wealth distribution, whereby local resources are harnessed for sustainability of the local economy. Localising economies facilitate degrowth by shifting our focus to the quality of economies and the redefinition of growth and prosperity. The purpose of this study is to highlight the potentials of localisation and degrowth for vulnerability reduction.


In this study, the authors conducted a case study of the Lyttelton community in New Zealand, their local initiatives and how these efforts have been used to build capacities and reduce vulnerabilities in the community. Data were sourced from both primary and secondary sources. Primary data were sourced through observation of the day-to-day running of the community and interviews with community members, while secondary data were sourced from existing literature on the community and related concepts.


Lyttelton community provides a good example of a community where bottom-up initiatives are particularly felt, and there is very limited dependence on the conventional economic system to solve their problems. The study shows that degrowth initiatives within the community have gained momentum because initiators see the value in their coming together as a community and doing what is right for themselves and the environment. Furthermore, localisation fosters innovation, personal growth and development and care for the environment.


This paper contributes to the existing knowledge by discussing some local initiatives that serve an underlying purpose for degrowth based on a study carried out in Lyttelton, New Zealand. The study findings established that there is need for more focus on sensitisation about the risks of growth mania and the potential for degrowth in bringing about actual prosperity, for saving the environment and disaster risk reduction. Also, the encouragement of local production and existing institutions like the timebank, which give members access to the needed resources and skills contribute to vulnerability reduction.



This research was funded by the University of Newcastle International Postgraduate Scholarship.


Ajulo, O.M., von Meding, J. and Tang, P. (2020), "Relocalisation for degrowth and disaster risk reduction", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 29 No. 6, pp. 877-891.



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