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What defines our geography of ‘home’?

How do disasters affect our understanding of and feeling towards ‘home’?

Does an emotional connection to ‘home’ influence post-disaster return and reestablishment?

What role do voluntary sector organisations play in helping residents return ‘home’?

Can the government make better use of the community network for post disaster management in the future?


A major earthquake has just rocked your city and you must respond to the needs of the residents, business owners and other affected parties. You must consider a list of possible responses and determine the order of importance in which you will implement them so as to maintain the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of the affected parties. Use the Diamond nine starter to do this.


Task one

One of the research methods used during the fieldwork project was object elicitation. The idea behind this research method is not so much studying the object but instead, studying how the interviewee responds to the object, what feeling or memories it provokes and how this helps people talk in more depth and respond to the interview.

An analogy is to think about what objects would you and other members of your family save if your house was on fire. Why would you choose these and what stories would they reveal about your families?

Read the article about the use of object elicitation as a research method used by Stephanie in Christchurch. 

With this in mind you will identify an object, a picture or a piece of music that you associate with ‘home’.

In small groups discuss the object that you have chosen and try to explain what it is that gives it an association with ‘home’.

Task two

Read the PowerPoint presentation about interview techniques to explore the strengths and weaknesses of interviews as a data collection technique and to offer a flavour of the style of questions asked by Stephanie during her interviews with displaced residents in Christchurch.

As a result of the interviews and object elicitation Stephanie was able to identify common themes in the displaced residents’ desire/ability to return ‘home’. Read the summary of Stephanie’s findings and consider the questions below.

Questions to consider:

  • How do you think the resident’s sense of ‘home’ was changed by the earthquake?

  • What factors are likely to have influenced resident’s decisions to return home after the earthquake?

  • Why do you think some resident have not returned home?


Each member of the class has two sticky notes of different colours. On one sticky note the student writes a factor that they think is important in determining the vulnerability of residents to earthquake hazards. On the second sticky note the student writes a factor that they think is important in determining the speed/ease of resettlement following an earthquake. As a class discuss the two groups of factors identified and organise them into two separate continuums from most to least important.