Measuring Individual Community Capacity, Resilience and Recovery in Three Louisiana Coastal Parishes.

Authors: Aimee Moles*, Louisiana State University, Haojie Zhu*, Louisiana State University
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: resilience, natural disaster, climate change, wellbeing, Vulnerability
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Balcony B, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Louisiana’s coastal communities face tremendous challenges related to severe weather events, threatened ecosystems, Inundation, rising sea levels, hazardous spills, and land subsidence. The physical safety as well as the livelihoods of coastal citizens are being severely impacted. While the challenges to both rural and urban areas of the Louisiana coast are similar, these communities are not homogeneous in their strengths and struggles. Additionally, there needs to be a better understanding of what "recovery" looks like for each community through comparison of pre and post disaster capacities. As part of a large, transdisciplinary research project focused on solutions to this coastal crisis, a wellness index was developed to measure the variations and capacity gaps among three coastal Louisiana Parishes both prior to and after the south Louisiana flooding event of August 2016. Adopting the methods of Burton (2015) and Cutter et al.(2010), we collected over 100 variables relating to local well-being at the census-tract level in East Baton Rouge, Ascension, and Livingston parishes. The variables were categorized into public health and safety, community identity, economic stability, natural environment, and built environment to capture dimensions of well-being and to better understand how each community could be aided in developing a plan for future resilience.

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