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.  She currently works as a post-doctoral research fellow for the National Science Challenge's Resilience to Nature's Challenges programme working on the Resilient Cities Network Development Project, and assisting with the Resilient Auckland Planning, Resilient Auckland Communities and Resilient Auckland Businesses projects.  

Sandeeka is also a researcher at the Centre for Disaster Resilience, Recovery and Reconstruction.  Her research focus has been on developing and defining the concept of “Building Back Better” (BBB) in post-disaster reconstruction and recovery.  She developed a framework for BBB which is fast gaining recognition worldwide.  She has been involved in BBB case study research looking at the 2009 Victorian Bushfires, the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, the 2010/2011 Canterbury Earthquakes, the 2014 Gaza Conflict and cyclone seasons in the Cook Islands.  She is hoping to extend the BBB case studies in the Pacific and other international settings.  The aim of this research is to develop country and sector-specific BBB indicators which serve as best-practice recommendations to support resilient post-disaster recovery and pre-planning.  

Sandeeka has worked as a BBB specialist consultant for international agencies such as the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and the Agricultural Development Association, Palestine.  She was recently involved in producing a State of New Zealand report for the United Nations Habitat III Conference on developing a new urban agenda in partnership with the University of Auckland’s Urban Research Network.  

Research | Current

Building Back Better

Resilient Cities

Community Resilience

Post-disaster Reconstruction and Recovery

Postgraduate supervision

  1. Tinu Francis: Application of Build Back Better in reconstruction of Christchurch (began in 2013) - PhD Advisor
  2. Heiman Dianat: Testing the United Nations UNISDR Resilience Scorecard in Auckland (began in 2016) - PhD Advisor


  • 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
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/39149
  • 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).
  • 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 10, Room 1014
New Zealand