Student Profile: Nichapat Sanunsilp
Disaster preparedness and resilience among Auckland’s Southeast Asian communities
A bit about me
I was born and raised in Bangkok for 25 years, trained to be a landscape architect for 5 years and worked as a landscape architect for 2 years. Then I came to The University of Auckland to study a Master of Disaster Management. I got into the concept of resilience in the 4th year of my undergrad in Landscape Architecture. I did a project about flooding in the East of Bangkok and have been interested in the idea of resilience ever since. I always felt like there was more to landscape architecture than the planning and construction that I did for the residential and resort projects in my first job. After two years at the architect firm in Thailand, I decided to get back to the idea about resilience and found the Disaster Management course at The University of Auckland. I was lucky to have Dr Alice Chang-Richards as my supervisor and to work with Dr Jesse Hession Grayman at the university, as that led me to research disaster preparedness and resilience among Auckland’s Southeast Asian Communities.
Outside of my studies, I would say my interests are very random. They range from reading modern classic books to sci-fi, solo travelling, watercolour painting, and swing dancing.
I am lucky to have the opportunity to work on two similar projects as part of my studies. The first, in partnership with Auckland Council, is about social networks and dynamics in St. Heliers and Mission Bay with Dr Alice Chang-Richards. The second focuses on disaster preparedness and resilience among Auckland’s Southeast Asian Communities with Dr Jesse Hession Grayman.
It’s very interesting to see how people connect with each other, with their communities, and with their organisations. They do it differently based on their backgrounds and where they are. Their social network is a big contributor to how they prepare for a disaster too, especially in the Southeast Asian communities that I am a part of as a Thai who is living in Auckland. We are more vulnerable to any kind of disaster as we are in smaller communities and not a major group of people in Auckland. My research is investigating the diverse ways people with different backgrounds prepare and cope with disasters and how can we improve their resilience.
In the future I hope that this research will improve the way in which people communicate about risk knowledge, how they receive early warnings, and how they respond to the event. Most importantly though, I hope people will be more prepared and have a better, more resilient life, because they cannot be prepared for any kind of disaster if they don’t even have well-being in their daily life.