Scroll across for research findings and considerations for supporting disaster recovery.

Below, you will find outlines of ‘what we know’ from evidence about the role of built capital in disaster recovery, including how it can affect wellbeing and interact with other recovery capitals. These statements summarise academic evidence, but they do not represent the entire evidence base. You can find original evidence sources in the reference list below.

You will also find prompts to consider when applying this knowledge to disaster recovery support efforts.

The recovery capitals are deeply interrelated – look out for the little icons which highlight points of relevance to the other capitals.

Labelled icons for natural, social, financial, cultural, political, built and human capital

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The pilot ReCap guide was released in July 2020 for piloting and is a work in progress. Your feedback is most welcome up until March 31st 2021.

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This resource has been developed through the Recovery Capitals (ReCap) project, which is an Australia-Aotearoa New Zealand collaboration. The ReCap project is being undertaken by the University of Melbourne and Massey University in New Zealand, with the support of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre. Australian Red Cross is the lead partner organisation. Illustrations by Oslo Davis. ReCap logo by Alana Pirrone and Oslo Davis.



  1. Emery M, Fey S, Flora C. Using community capitals to develop assets for positive community change. CD Practice. 2006;13:1–19.
  2. Bryant RA, Gibbs L, Gallagher HC, Pattison P, Lusher D, MacDougall C, et al. Longitudinal Study of Changing Psychological Outcomes Following the Victorian Black Saturday Bushfires. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 2017;DOI: 10.11.
  3. Bryant R, Gallagher H, Waters E, Gibbs L, Pattison P, MacDougall C, et al. Mental Health and Social Networks After Disaster. American Journal of Psychiatry. 2017 Mar;174(3):277–85.
  4. Morgan J, Begg A, Beaven S, Schluter P, Jamieson K, Johal S, et al. Monitoring wellbeing during recovery from the 2010–2011 Canterbury earthquakes: The CERA wellbeing survey. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. 2015 Dec 1;14:96–103.
  5. Gibbs L, Gallagher HC, Block K, Snowdon E, Bryant R, Harms L, et al. Post-bushfire relocation decision-making and personal wellbeing: A case study from Victoria, Australia. In: Adenrele Awotona, editor. Planning for Community-based Disaster Resilience Worldwide: Learning from Case Studies in Six Continents. London and New York: Routledge; 2016. p. 333–56.
  6. Urmson K, Johnston D, Kemp S. Asking for help and receiving support after a disaster. Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies. 2016;20(1):3–14.
  7. Himes-Cornell A, Ormond C, Hoelting K, Ban NC, Zachary Koehn J, Allison EH, et al. Factors Affecting Disaster Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Using the Community Capitals Framework. Coastal Management. 2018 Sep 3;46(5):335–58.
  8. van Kessel G, MacDougall C, Gibbs L. The Process of Rebuilding Human Resilience in the Face of the Experience of a Natural Disaster: A Multisystem Model. IJEMHHR. 2015;17(4):678–87.
  9. Van Kessel, G., Gibbs, L., & MacDougall C. Strategies to enhance resilience post-natural disaster: a qualitative study of experiences with Australian floods and fires. Journal of Public Health. 2014;37(2):328–36.
  10. Gibbs L, Block K, Harms L, MacDougall C, Snowdon E, Ireton G, et al. Children and young people’s wellbeing post-disaster: Safety and stability are critical. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. 2015;14:195–201.
  11. O’Neill K. Communities at the Heart of Recovery: Reflections on the Government-Community Partnership for Recovery After the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires in Victoria, Australia. In: Natural Disaster Management in the Asia-Pacific. Springer; 2015. p. 119–38.
  12. Aldrich DP. The power of people: Social capital’s role in recovery from the 1995 Kobe earthquake. Natural Hazards. 2011 Mar 18;56(3):595–611.
  13. Williamson B, Markham F, Weir J. Aboriginal peoples and the response to the 2019–2020 bushfires, Working Paper No. 134/2020. Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University, Canberra; 2020.
  14. Thomassin A, Neale T, Weir JK. The natural hazard sector’s engagement with Indigenous peoples: a critical review of CANZUS countries. Geographical research. 2019;57(2):164–77.
  15. Syphard AD, Keeley JE, Massada AB, Brennan TJ, Radeloff VC. Housing arrangement and location determine the likelihood of housing loss due to wildfire. PLoS ONE. 2012 Mar 28;7(3).
  16. Crompton RP, McAneney KJ, Chen K, Pielke RA, Haynes K. Influence of location, population, and climate on building damage and fatalities due to Australian bushfire: 1925-2009. Weather, Climate, and Society. 2010 Oct;2(4):300–10.
  17. Johnston D, Standring S, Ronan K, Lindell M, Wilson T, Cousins J, et al. The 2010/2011 Canterbury earthquakes: Context and cause of injury. Natural Hazards. 2014 Sep 27;73(2):627–37.
  18. van den Honert RC, McAneney J. The 2011 Brisbane Floods: Causes, Impacts and Implications. Water. 2011 Dec 9;3(4):1149–73.
  19. Banks M, Bowman D. Juggling risks: insurance in households struggling with financial insecurity. Brotherhood of St Laurence; 2017.
  20. Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission Final Report Summary. Vol. PP No. 332. Government Printer for the State of Victoria; 2009.
  21. Boon H. Investigation rural community communication for flood and bushfire preparedness. Australian Journal of Emergency Management, The. 2014;29(4):17.
  22. Thomas J, Barraket J, Wilson C, Cook K, Louie Y, Holcombe-James I, et al. Measuring Australia’s Digital Divide: The Australian Digital Inclusion Index 2018. 2018;
  23. Aldrich DP. Challenges to Coordination: Understanding Intergovernmental Friction During Disasters. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science. 2019 Sep;10(3):306–16.
  24. Aldrich DP, Sawada Y. The physical and social determinants of mortality in the 3.11 tsunami. Social Science and Medicine. 2015 Jan 1;124:66–75.
  25. Aldrich DP. Black wave: how networks and governance shaped Japan’s 3/11 disasters. University of Chicago Press; 2019.