Reflecting on Resilience in Broward County, Florida: A Newspaper Content Analysis about Hurricane Wilma Recovery

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Resilience, Adaptation, Vulnerability, Natural hazards, Climate change, Adaptive capacity

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Resilience is a burgeoning concept in the field of disaster research. While definitions for resilience vary, some scholars distinguish between two scales of resilience: Specified resilience, addressing resistance to known disturbances, and general resilience, addressing a system's capacity to deal with less predictable shocks. This paper qualitatively analyzes the content of 172 Sun-Sentinel newspaper articles to explore the interplay between specified and general resilience in Broward County following Hurricane Wilma in 2005. In these articles about Wilma, a specified disturbance event, some prominent themes that tied into theories of general resilience included the distribution of benefits and risks, accountability, social learningand memory, cross-scale governance, vulnerability and social networks. After identifying these surrogates for resilience and further analyzing the content of the news articles, this paper concludes with four recommendations for Broward County to potentially enhance resilience to future storms and less predictable disturbances, like climate change and sea level rise: (1) Update county vulnerability profiles with attention to socially marginalized vulnerable groups; (2) Reframe and clarify the purpose of the Vulnerable Populations Registry, using social science research; (3) Foster opportunities for community members to share local knowledge, highlighting innovative problem-solving; and (4) Review existing disaster recovery programs to assess the distribution of benefits and risks across populations, space and time.

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International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, v. 19, p. 36-46