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Institutions, routines, and crises: Post-earthquake housing recovery in Mexico City and Los Angeles

Inam, Aseem ORCID: 1999. Institutions, routines, and crises: Post-earthquake housing recovery in Mexico City and Los Angeles. Cities 16 , pp. 391-407. 10.1016/S0264-2751(99)00038-4

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This is a study of how planning institutions deal with crisis recovery; that is, recovery from situations marked by complexity, uncertainty, and sudden change that increasingly characterize contemporary cities. Based on an analytical framework derived from institutional literature and planning theory, the study examines two successful housing recovery programs during crisis situations: the Renovación Habitacional Popular program in Mexico City following the 1985 earthquake, and the Ghost Town program in Los Angeles following the 1994 earthquake. The study addresses the following research questions: In what manner were the planning institutions successful, if at all? Which familiar and established institutional arrangements, policies, programs, and practices (ie routines) did they adopt when faced with large, unexpected shocks (ie crises)? How do institutional actors in different political-economic contexts respond to similar crisis situations? What are the lessons of these institutional actions for future crises, and for normal operations in planning? The study argues that planning institutions perform successfully during crises due primarily to routines, which are usually overlooked or decried as being bureaucratic. Planning institutions responded effectively to the crises by adapting institutional routines quickly and efficiently to new circumstances. While these routines can be constraints under normal conditions, they also act as powerful tools during exceptional times, serving as catalysts to release the disciplined energy of institutions to perform effectively, resolve problems, and re-establish order.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Architecture
Publisher: Elsevier
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 March 2019
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2022 13:43

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