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 cultural 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. 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.
  2. Emery M, Fey S, Flora C. Using community capitals to develop assets for positive community change. CD Practice. 2006;13:1–19.
  3. Jacobs C. Measuring success in communities: The community capitals framework. 2011;
  4. Whittaker J, Eriksen C, Haynes K. Gendered responses to the 2009 B lack S aturday bushfires in V ictoria, A ustralia. Geographical Research. 2016;54(2):203–15.
  5. Eriksen C. Gendered Risk Engagement: Challenging the Embedded Vulnerability, Social Norms and Power Relations in Conventional A ustralian Bushfire Education. Geographical Research. 2014;52(1):23–33.
  6. Tyler M, Fairbrother P. Gender, households, and decision‐making for wildfire safety. Disasters. 2018;42(4):697–718.
  7. Molyneaux R, Gibbs L, Bryant R, Humphreys C, Hegarty K, Kellett C, et al. Interpersonal violence and mental health outcomes following disaster. BJPsych Open. 2020;6(1).
  8. Parkinson D. Investigating the Increase in Domestic Violence Post Disaster: An Australian Case Study. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 2019 Jun 1;34(11):2333–62.
  9. Larkin B. Pride and prejudice: LGBTIQ community responses to disaster events worldwide. Australian Journal of Emergency Management, The. 2019;34(4):60.
  10. Dominey-Howes D, Gorman-Murray A, McKinnon S. Queering disasters: On the need to account for LGBTI experiences in natural disaster contexts. Gender, Place & Culture. 2014;21(7):905–18.
  11. Fraser C, Blake D. Valuing Voices: Sex workers’ experiences following the Canterbury earthquakes. Disaster Research Science Report; 2020/01. Wellington (NZ); 2020.
  12. 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.
  13. Harms L, Gallagher H, Gibbs L, Bryant R, Lusher D, Richardson J, et al. Conceptualising post-disaster recovery: Incorporating Grief Experiences. British Journal of Social Work. 2015;45((suppl 1): i170-i187).
  14. Thompson K, Every D, Rainbird S, Cornell V, Smith B, Trigg J. No pet or their person left behind: Increasing the disaster resilience of vulnerable groups through animal attachment, activities and networks. Animals. 2014;4(2):214–40.
  15. Smith Y, Golomb-Leavitt A. The Loss of a Pet. Pet Loss, Grief, and Therapeutic Interventions: Practitioners Navigating the Human-Animal Bond. 2019;
  16. Block K, Molyneaux R, Gibbs L, Alkemade N, Baker E, MacDougall C, et al. The role of the natural environment in disaster recovery: “We live here because we love the bush”. Health & Place. 2019 May 1;57:61–9.
  17. Kenney CM, Phibbs SR, Paton D, Reid J, Johnston DM. Community-led disaster risk management: A Māori response to ōtautahi (christchurch) earthquakes. Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies. 2015;19(Special Issue):9–20.
  18. 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.
  19. Boon HJ. Disaster resilience in a flood-impacted rural Australian town. Natural Hazards. 2014 Mar;71(1):683–701.
  20. Williamson B, Weir J, Cavanagh V. Strength from perpetual grief: how Aboriginal people experience the bushfire crisis. The Conversation. 2020;
  21. Aldrich DP. Challenges to Coordination: Understanding Intergovernmental Friction During Disasters. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science. 2019 Sep;10(3):306–16.
  22. 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.
  23. VanLandingham MJ. Weathering Katrina: Culture and Recovery among Vietnamese Americans. Russell Sage Foundation; 2017.
  24. Moreton MRJ. A study of four natural disasters in Australia: how the human response to fire, flood and cyclone contributes to community resilience and recovery. 2016;