Reconstruction planning in post-conflict zones Bosnia and Herzegovina and the international community

University dissertation from Stockholm : Infrastruktur

Abstract: The history of mankind has been plagued by an almost continuous chain of various armed conflicts - local, regional, national and global - that have caused horrendous damage to the social and physical fabric of cities. The tragedy of millions deprived by war still continues. This study sets out to understand the nature of reconstruction after war in the light of recent armed conflicts. It attempts to catalogue and discuss the tasks involved in the process of reconstruction planning by establishing a conceptual framework of the main issues in the reconstruction process. The case of Bosnia and Herzegovina is examined in detail and on the whole acts as the leit-motif of the whole dissertation and positions reconstruction in the broader context of sustainable development. The study is organized into two parts that constitute the doctoral aggregate dissertation – a combining of papers with an introductory monograph. In this case the introductory monograph is an extended one and there are six papers that follow. Both sections can be read on their own merits but also constitute one entity.The rebuilding of war-devastated countries and communities can be seen as a series of nonintegrated activities carried out (and often imposed) by international agencies and governments, serving political and other agendas. The result is that calamities of war are often accompanied by the calamities of reconstruction without any regard to sustainable development. The body of knowledge related to post-conflict reconstruction lacks a strong and cohesive theory. In order to better understand the process of reconstruction we present a qualitative inquiry based on the Grounded Theory Method developed originally by Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss (1967). This approach utilizes a complex conceptualization with empirical evidence to produce theoretical structure. The results of process have evolved into the development of a conceptual model, called SCOPE (Sustainable Communities in Post-conflict Environments).This study proposes both a structure within which to examine post-conflict reconstruction and provides an implementation method. We propose to use the SCOPE model as a set of strategy, policy and program recommendations to assist the international community and all relevant decision-makers to ensure that the destruction and carnage of war does not have to be followed by a disaster of post-conflict reconstruction. We also offer to provide a new foundation and paradigm on post-conflict reconstruction, which incorporates and integrates a number of approaches into a multidisciplinary and systems thinking manner in order to better understand the complexity and dependencies of issues at hand. We believe that such a systems approach could better be able to incorporate the complexities involved and would offer much better results than the approaches currently in use.The final section of this study returns to the fact that although it is probably impossible to produce universal answers, we desperately need to find commonalities amongst different postconflict reconstruction settings in order to better deal with the reconstruction planning in a more dynamic, proactive, and sustainable manner.

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