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Re-conceptualising “Building Back Better” to improve post-disaster recovery

Sandeeka Mannakkara (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)
Suzanne Wilkinson (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Article publication date: 27 May 2014




The purpose of this paper is to understand and define the concept of Building Back Better (BBB) and represent it using a comprehensive framework.


Literature related to the concept of BBB were studied to understand the key concepts which constitute BBB. These concepts were analysed and categorised to form the basis of the proposed BBB framework.


Post-disaster recovery in-line with BBB concepts can be achieved by having a holistic view of four key categories: risk reduction entails improving the resilience of the built environment through improvement of structural designs and land-use planning; community recovery includes addressing and supporting psycho-social recovery of communities and supporting economic rejuvenation; implementation addresses ways in which risk reduction and community recovery practices can be put in place in an efficient and effective way; monitoring and evaluation stretches across the first three categories, and calls for putting in place mechanisms to monitor and evaluate recovery activities to ensure compliance with BBB-based concepts and obtain lessons to improve future disaster management practices.

Research limitations/implications

The BBB Framework generated in this study can be used as a foundation to determine best-practice recommendations to implement recovery activities under each of the BBB categories.

Practical implications

The BBB Framework forms a guideline to holistically plan and implement recovery programmes in order to BBB.


A comprehensive guideline or framework which clarified what BBB really means is currently inexistent. This paper addressed this research gap by amalgamating existing information to create a singular framework to simply and comprehensively represent BBB.



The authors would like to sincerely thank the University of Auckland and Resilient Organisations, New Zealand for funding this research study.


Mannakkara, S. and Wilkinson, S. (2014), "Re-conceptualising “Building Back Better” to improve post-disaster recovery", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 327-341.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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