Exploring Pathways and Timelines to Recovery in Post-Sandy New Jersey

Authors: Ronald Schumann*, University of North Texas, Laura Siebeneck, University of North Texas, Rachel Wolfe, University of North Texas
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Qualitative Methods
Keywords: long-term disaster recovery, hazards geography, timeline analysis, qualitative methods, social time
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2020
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Plaza Court 6, Sheraton, Concourse Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


For disaster survivors, the post-disaster recovery process is neither simple nor universal nor linear. Generally, communities experience functional recovery faster than smaller social units like households, yet a large degree of variation can exist even between households based upon their disaster impacts, social vulnerability, and availability of recovery resources. Decisions made in short-term recovery as well as localized policy changes set the stage for long-term household recovery. This study explores these varied chains of events experienced by New Jersey residents five years following Hurricane Sandy.

This research applies the concept of social time in disasters (Neal 1997, 2013) as an analytical tool for exploring pathways to household recovery. During summer 2017, focus group participants (n=28) in three impacted regions of New Jersey discussed facilitators and barriers to their recovery. Afterward, participants used these facilitators and barriers to construct personalized timelines detailing their own household recovery experience. This paper describes the multi-step, inductive grounded theory approach used to undertake timeline analysis. Preliminary findings show the extent to which key recovery events (e.g., occupancy of damaged housing, multiple displacements, and home elevation) produced variation in recovery timing and outcomes.

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