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Small Business Recovery Themes Following Hurricane Harvey (2017)

Authors: Ronald Hagelman III*, Texas State University, Elyse Zavar, University of North Texas, Brendan Lavy, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Human-Environment Geography, Qualitative Methods
Keywords: natural, hazard, disaster, mixed methohds, qualitative methods
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Rockport, Texas as a Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. The eye of the storm was only a few miles inland when it reversed course, swung back out into the Gulf of Mexico, and gathered energy over warm gulf waters before tracking east again along the populated and highly industrialized coastlines of eastern Texas and western Louisiana. This paper presents a case study situated on the central Texas Gulf Coast examining the recovery of small businesses, many of them tourism-based, affected by Hurricane Harvey. We use original survey data (metrics and short-answer responses) from local business representatives collected online after the storm, secondary data on economic recovery in the region, media discourse, and observational field assessments to characterize recovery outcomes among our sample group. Qualitative themes and best-practices are synthesized and discussed in the context of disaster geography and community recovery.

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