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The Power of People: Social Capital’s Role in Recovery from the 1995 Kobe Earthquake

This article analyzes how five major variables affect the speed and efficacy of post-disaster recovery, including physical damage, population density, socioeconomic status, economic inequality, and social capital. With nearly two decades of data from Kobe, Japan's nine wards following its 1995 earthquake, it finds that social capital is the best predictor of population recovery following such a crisis. It notes that given this finding, more attention should be turned to strengthening social networks beginning at the local level rather than only allocating resources toward the physical strengthening of roads, bridges, and housing.

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