Malalgoda, Chamindi, Amaratunga, Dilanthi and Haigh, Richard (2016) Overcoming challenges faced by local governments in creating a resilient built environment in cities. Disaster Prevention and Management, 25 (5). pp. 628-648. ISSN 0965-3562

Purpose: Although, a number of initiatives have been taken after the devastating Indian Ocean
tsunami to institutionalise Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), gaps still exist in the Sri Lankan local government sector. Even after 10 years, local governments are still struggling to overcome a number of challenges in relation to making resilience in the built environment. DRR has not yet been properly integrated into the local government system and as a result, pose a significant challenge. Accordingly, the aim of this research is to discover the hindrances for local governments in creating disaster resilient built environment within cities and to propose ways of overcoming the identified limitations.
Design/ methodology/ approach: Fifteen (15) semi-structured interviews were conducted among
experts from Sri Lanka who are involved in disaster management, local governments and built
environment fields of study. The interviews were conducted with the intention of gaining expert
knowledge pertaining to this field of study and the interviews were mainly designed to capture the current practices for; instigating disaster risk reduction initiatives within Sri Lanka, the role of local governments in creating a disaster resilient built environments, associated challenges and ways of overcoming challenges to ensure effective contribution to city resilience.
Findings: Primary data discovered 36 challenges along with some associated sub-challenges. The
challenges were categorised under eight main themes, legal framework; lack of adequate tools,
techniques and guidelines; human resource constraints; funding constraints; weaknesses in the internal systems and processes; weaknesses in the external systems; community engagement; and
other challenges. The paper analysed these challenges in detail and proposes a set of
recommendations to overcome the challenges to create disaster resilient built environments within cities.
Research limitations/ implications: The paper provides a descriptive analysis of how the Sri Lankan local government sector could overcome the underpinning challenges of contributing to disaster resilience in the built environment and no comparative studies were conducted with other tsunami affected regions. Furthermore, the paper analyses partial findings of a broader research, which was aimed at developing a framework to empower local governments in creating a disaster resilient built environment.
Originality/ Value: The paper provides an extensive analysis of challenges faced by local
governments in contributing to resilience of its built environment and proposes how these
challenges could be overcome while making a worthwhile contribution to both theory and practise.
Accordingly, the paper recommends major changes in policy and practice with respect to bringing
local governments into DRR.

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