Research findings published in special issue of the journal Architecture, August 2022

A systematic literature review on Urban Planning in Tsunami-Prone Areas, carried out in conjunction with the project, was published in August 2022 as part of an article in the journal Architecture. This article belongs to the Special Issue Resilience and Sustainability in Architecture and Urban Planning: Policies, Practices, Strategies and Visions. The paper can be downloaded from:

The paper emphasises that tsunamis pose significant challenges for disaster reduction efforts due to the multi-hazard, cascading nature of these events, including a range of different potential triggering and consequential hazards. Although infrequent, they have the potential to cause devastating human and economic losses. Effective urban planning has been recognised as an important strategy for reducing disaster risk in cities. However, there have been limited studies on urban planning for tsunami-prone areas, and there have been wide ranging strategies adopted globally. The paper explores the status of urban planning in tsunami areas and better understanding potential urban planning strategies to reduce disaster risk in coastal regions. It presents the findings of a systematic review of the urban planning literature. Using the PRISMA guidelines, 56 papers were selected, and three guiding questions informed the review.

The review was supplemented by further empirical investigations carried out in Sri Lanka by a local research team as part of a related project. The combined analysis reveals insights into the characteristics of the literature, as well as the nature of existing strategies for urban planning in tsunami-prone areas, grouped into six broad themes: community participation, spatial planning, soft and hard engineering, evacuation planning, and resilience thinking. The findings also reveal limitations in existing strategies, including their failure to address multi-hazard threats and systemic risk, as well as inadequate community participation, and limited access to timely disaster risk information. The findings are used to inform an initial model of urban planning strategies in tsunami-prone areas that can be used before a hazard event occurs, during and in the immediate response to a hazard event, and during recovery and reconstruction following a disaster.

The full reference is: Perera UTG, De Zoysa C, Abeysinghe AASE, Haigh R, Amaratunga D, Dissanayake R. A Study of Urban Planning in Tsunami-Prone Areas of Sri Lanka. Architecture. 2022; 2(3):562-592.

A related study but focused on urban planning strategies in Indonesia, will be published in a separate article.