Telecommunications and natural disasters in rural Australia: The role of digital capability in building disaster resilience

Marshall, Amber, Wilson, Carrie-Ann, and Dale, Allan (2023) Telecommunications and natural disasters in rural Australia: The role of digital capability in building disaster resilience. Journal of Rural Studies, 100. 102996.

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Telecommunications infrastructure and services are essential for rural communities to respond to natural disasters, like bushfires, cyclones and floods. Such disasters are becoming increasingly frequent in rural Australia. This cross-disciplinary study draws together community disaster resilience and digital capability concepts to address a critical gap in our understanding how rural individuals and organisations can effectively prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural disasters using telecommunications. The study adopts an ethnographic methodology, including semi-structured interviews and community workshops, in rural Far North Queensland, Australia. A socio-technical approach enabled the authors to analytically highlight both technical and social aspects of digital capability at each phase of disaster resilience: preparedness, response, and recovery. In contrast to the dominant focus on technical infrastructure and capability in the literature, this study builds on emerging work focused on social factors of disaster resilience that are facilitated by digital technologies. It particularly demonstrates how digital capabilities contribute to the essential disaster resilience factors of social capital, community competence, economic development, and information and communication. This research problem is particularly critical as rural Australia and other parts of the country and the world experience more frequent and more severe natural disasters.

Item ID: 78311
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-1392
Keywords: Australia, Digital capability, Disaster resilience, Regional development, Rural, Telecommunications
Copyright Information: © 2023 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2023 00:12
FoR Codes: 33 BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN > 3304 Urban and regional planning > 330406 Regional analysis and development @ 60%
40 ENGINEERING > 4006 Communications engineering > 400605 Optical fibre communication systems and technologies @ 40%
SEO Codes: 15 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 1503 Management and productivity > 150304 Productivity (excl. public sector) @ 30%
22 INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES > 2201 Communication technologies, systems and services > 220106 Satellite technologies, networks and services @ 30%
22 INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES > 2204 Information systems, technologies and services > 220408 Information systems @ 40%
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