There is increasing recognition of the role of culture in influencing community resilience. When acknowledged as cultural aspects, behaviors, beliefs and social structure could shape risk perception and risk behavior. In the context of Indonesia, research on culture has been mainly explored within the context of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and rarely in the case of floods in coastal areas. This study aims to explore distinctive elements of culture that shape community resilience progressions from coping, self-organizing, recovering and learning to adapt to flood hazards. We argue that unpacking and knowing how particular elements of culture influence the progression of resilience will lead to better understanding of how vulnerable communities build their resilience. Empirical data is collected through a survey of 170 households, semi-structured interviews with local leaders and group discussions in Muara Baru, North Jakarta. This study finds that vulnerable communities can build resilience by optimizing their existing culture in daily life. First, household behaviors e.g. helping each other and offering mutual assistance, influences the ability to cope with disasters. Second, social structures e.g. task division amongst family members and the role of local leaders to manage relief programs, mainly determine ability to self-organize. Third, the recovery process is mainly shaped by networking within ethnic groups for social-economic support. Finally, the ability to learn to adapt is mainly influenced by strong beliefs which restrict people to learn from previous experiences and leaves them less prepared for future disasters. These findings are relevant for optimizing formal community resilience building programs.
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