Managing for resilience to natural disasters in coastal cities

Authors: Wen-Ching Chuang*, US Environmental Protection Agency, Tarsha Eason, US Environmental Protection Agency , Ahjond Garmestani , US Environmental Protection Agency
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Hazards and Vulnerability, Quantitative Methods
Keywords: Disaster resilience, vulnerability, Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana, New Orleans
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Napoleon A3, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


There is neither a single definition for disaster resilience nor a widely accepted way to measure it. Though there have been attempts to assess some dimensions of community resilience to natural disasters, there is still a lack of consistent and standard metrics or surrogate variables to evaluate disaster resilience of communities. Disasters could impact human communities in many ways and with different magnitudes. Natural disasters, such as hurricanes and forest fires, could trigger collapse and reorganization of social-ecological systems. In the face of external perturbations, a resilient system would have capacity to absorb impacts, adapt to change, learn, and if needed, reorganize within the same regime. Within this context, we ask how human and natural systems in Louisiana responded to Hurricane Katrina, and how the natural disaster altered the status of these systems. For instance, in 2010, the population of New Orleans grew for the first time since 1950 and there was a large increase in land conversion from low-density to high-density development. How did such shifts impact the overall condition of New Orleans and surrounding areas? Here, we aim to advance the assessment of resilience through a spatial and temporal lens by investigating trends in key variables characterizing social, economic and environmental changes in Louisiana and the City of New Orleans, before and after Hurricane Katrina.

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