Planning for the redevelopment after a fire event

Andrew MacKenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of planners and designers in supporting residents to negotiate the challenges of rebuilding after wildfire on the urban fringe. The research seeks to understand how planning and design professionals, in providing professional services, comprehend the changing expectations of residents transitioning from emergency to the slow process of achieving a post fire normal state through the project of redesigning their homes. Design/methodology/approach: This paper uses semi-structured interviews to examine the role of planners and designers employed to facilitate and assess, or provide design services for residents who rebuilt houses after the 2003 bushfires in Canberra, Australia’s Capital City. Narrative analysis was used to identify emerging themes based on their professional experiences during the redevelopment of the suburb. Findings: Case analysis shows that external influences were significant contributing factors in determining the design of houses rebuilt after the fires. The goal for both the designers and residents was to design a more sustainable built form; however, this was not achieved as external social and cultural influences came into the decision-making process. Practical implications: The paper provides a different perspective on the competing goals planners and designers face in supporting residents to rebuild after disasters such as wild fires. It highlights the changing nature of the relationship between professionals and community. In particular, the research suggests planners can play an important role as observers and facilitators of long-term change occurring in the years after wildfire. The research provides insights into how planners and building designers may better serve the community by gaining a better understanding of the changing nature of redevelopment over time. Originality/value: The research provides a novel approach to understanding the challenges facing planners and building designers working with residents to rebuild houses after wildfire. The paper makes the case for a better understanding of the temporal dynamics and external influences affecting decision making in post disaster redevelopment of homes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-356
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


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