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, Hazards and Vulnerability, Social Geography
Keywords: long-term disaster recovery, hazards geography, timeline analysis, qualitative methods, social time
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 7
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

For disaster survivors, the post-disaster recovery process is neither simple nor universal nor linear. Households may experience wide variation in recovery speed based upon their disaster impacts, social vulnerability, and access to resources. Navigating post-disaster household recovery requires flexibility to respond to the barrage of forces acting within and upon households. Actions taken at multiple scales (i.e., individual, household, community, region) reverberate, setting households on divergent trajectories toward recovery. This research asks: what patterns exist in these household trajectories?

This study explores chains of events experienced by New Jersey residents in the five years following Hurricane Sandy. It 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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