Enhancing disaster resilience through local environment management: Case of Mumbai, India

Akhilesh Surjan, Rajib Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Persuading "urban communities" and "sustaining" environmental risk reduction measures among them, always remains a challenge. Disasters are generally perceived as one-time, long return period, high impact events. Even in the disaster struck areas, as the time passes, people tend to overlook the miseries of the past and continue to create risk. This paper seeks to examine how neighborhood environmental issues bring communities together and also sustainably reduce risk in Mumbai. Design/methodology/approach: This diagnostic study is based on thorough literature survey backed with field visit to capture viewpoints of communities, local officials, civic society, etc. The urbanization pattern of Mumbai is elaborated with specific focus on city governance and recognizing environmental and disaster vulnerabilities. Recent flood in Mumbai is deconstructed to delve of specific role of communities and other stakeholders. Existing participatory mechanism known as ALM is construed to reflect on its role in risk reduction followed by suggestive course of action. Findings: ALM as "municipal agency-neighborhood group partnership" has helped people learn caring the areas beyond own housing premises and work together for locality problems. City government boosted this community-led effort, as it was not only reducing burden on overstressed municipal services and reducing flood risk but also helping to let down epidemics and water-borne diseases. Research limitations/implications: This study is based on field study from only one city of India. Inputs from other cities from the developing world may further enrich the research. Practical implications: It is observed that with due encouragement and support from local government, the voluntary community action towards neighborhood level issues can be well mobilized and sustained for long-term. Originality/value: People-centered approaches transcend across developmental disciplines and significantly contribute towards reduction of environmental and hazard risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-433
Number of pages16
JournalDisaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Cities
  • Communities
  • Environmental management
  • India
  • Risk management
  • Sustainable development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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