Dr Sandeeka Vamudi Mannakkara

PhD, BE (Hons.)


Sandeeka is a University of Auckland graduate, who started her career as a structural engineer and then proceeded to earn her PhD at the University of Auckland's department of civil and environmental engineering.  She specialises in post-disaster recovery and reconstruction, city resilience and climate change adaptation.  Her research work has primarily focused in the Asia-Pacific region to date.

Previous to her current position, Sandeeka worked as a research fellow in the department for a number of years.  She led and worked on the Resilient Cities Network Development Project funded by the MBIE National Science Challenge Resilience to Nature's Challenges programme, and the Build Back Better Project funded by the MBIE Natural Hazards Research Platform with Opus Research.  Sandeeka has also worked as a specialist consultant for international agencies such as the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and the Agricultural Development Association, Palestine.

Sandeeka has had a particular interest in developing and defining the concept of “Building Back Better” (BBB) in post-disaster reconstruction and recovery which has been published in her new book "Resilient Post Disaster Recovery Through Builiding Back Better".  She is now looking at extending BBB and the development of resilience indicators for climate change adaptation.   

Research | Current

Climate Change Adaptation

Building Back Better

Resilient Cities

Community Resilience

Post-disaster Reconstruction and Recovery

Teaching | Current

DISMGT 701 - Disaster Risk Management

Postgraduate supervision


  1. Neeraj Shankar: Development of a Build Back Better Tool for Post-Disaster Reconstruction and Recovery (Main Supervisor)
  2. Elrasheid Elkhidir: Developing an Urban Collaboration Model for Improving Resilience in New Zealand (Main Supervisor)
  3. Rizwan Ali: Transition Governance Framework for Post-Disaster Recovery Phases (Main Supervisor)
  4. Diocel Harold Aquino: Building Code Implementation in the Developing World (Co-Supervisor)
  5. Reenate Willie: Framework for Asset Management in Kiribati with focus on Water Infrastructure (Co-Supervisor)
  6. Sameh Shamout: Urban Resilience Regarding the Energy Security Problem: A Study on the Amman Resilience Strategy (Co-Supervisor)
  7. Mohamed Elkharboutly: A Building Back Better Analysis of Post-Disaster Reconstruction in Fiji (Co-Supervisor)
  8. Tinu Francis: Application of Build Back Better in reconstruction of Christchurch (PhD Advisor)


  1. Linh Tran: Investigating the impacts of climate change on rice production in Vietnam to develop adaptation measures
  2. Maggie Chum: Adapting to climate change in Auckland - Develop a toolkit for community resilience based on Build Back Better Principles
  3. Christina Natalia Titisari: Investigating the Long-Term Resilience of Donor-Driven Housing Construction and Retrofit Projects - A case study of Fatamari Village, Lambalena, NTT, Indonesia
  4. Ma Jealyn Valenzuela: Assessing the resilience of Municipality of Salcedo, Philippines post-Typhoon Haiyan utilizing the Build Back Better Framework Tool
  5. Shafira Irmarini: Build Back Better - A new solution for Jakarta flooding


  • 2016 Highly Commended Paper award, 2016 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence
  • 2015 Highly Commended Paper award, 2015 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence
  • 2013 Brooking Prize Commendation awarded for essay, Society of Construction Law Australia
  • Recipient of 2010 University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship
  • Recipient of 2004 Kick Start City of Sails Scholarship, University of Auckland
  • Recipient of 2003 Dux Award, Hamilton Girls’ High School

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Mannakkara, S., & Wilkinson, S. (2016). Selecting an institutional mechanism for Building Back Better: Lessons from Victorian bushfires recovery. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 19, 273-279. 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2016.08.025
  • Mannakkara, S. V., Potangaroa, R., Safi, A., & AbuShaaban, R. (2016). Building back better in Gaza. Paper presented at 6th International Conference for Building Resilience, Auckland, New Zeland. 7 September - 9 September 2016. (pp. 11).
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/39028
  • Mannakkara, S., Potangaroa, R., & Wilkinson, S. (2015). Building Back Better roadmap for the rehabilitation of 310 agricultural businesses in the Gaza Strip.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/31423
  • Mannakkara, S. V., Wilkinson, S., & Francis, T. R. (2015). "Build Back Better" Principles for Reconstruction. In M. Beer, I. Kougioumtzoglou, E. Patelli, I. Siu-Kui Au (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Earthquake Engineering (pp. ). Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. 10.1007/978-3-642-36197-5_343-1
  • Mannakkara, S., & Wilkinson, S. (2015). Supporting post-disaster social recovery to build back better. International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, 6 (2), 126-139. 10.1108/IJDRBE-06-2013-0019
  • Mannakkara, S., Wilkinson, S., & Potangaroa, R. (2014). Build back better: Implementation in Victorian bushfire reconstruction. Disasters, 38 (2), 267-290. 10.1111/disa.12041
  • Wilkinsona, S., Rotimib, J. O. B., & Mannakarraa, S. (2014). Legislation Changes Following Earthquake Disasters. In M. Beer, I. A. Kougioumtzoglou, E. Patelli, I. S. Au (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Earthquake Engineering. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. 10.1007/978-3-642-36197-5_351-1
  • Mannakkara, S., & Wilkinson, S. (2014). Re-conceptualising “Building Back Better” to improve post-disaster recovery. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 7 (3), 327-341. 10.1108/IJMPB-10-2013-0054

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 11, Room 1139
New Zealand

Web links