Leveraging post-disasterwindows of opportunities for change towards sustainability: A framework

Katja Brundiers, Hallie Eakin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Disasters are catalysts for change: they are increasingly recognized as offering opportunities to direct and navigate change towards aspired outcomes, such as sustainable development goals. However, we know little about how to leverage the opportunities created by disasters to achieve sustainability objectives. Learning from existing case studies is challenging, partly because there is no framework that integrates concepts of change from both sustainability science and disaster recovery literatures. This study develops a unified analytical framework to facilitate the documentation and analysis of case studies of sustainability transitions following disasters. Our aim is to enhance the potential for theory-building, and to draw lessons that can be used to help leverage opportunities presented by disasters in the future. We apply the framework to available empirical cases and identify specific conditions, resources, social relations and constraints that affect disaster-to-sustainability transitions. Our expectation is that this framework will serve professionals and researchers in the fields of sustainable development and disaster mitigation to enhance the effectiveness of their research and applied activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1390
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • Change agents
  • Development
  • Disaster recovery
  • Opportunity
  • Sustainability transitions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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