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College of Arts & Sciences
Hazards & Vulnerability Research Institute


Place-Based Decision Support for Spatial and Temporal Transference of Risk and Hazards

The role of inequality (geographic, temporal, social) is one of the least understood concepts in vulnerability science, an emergent multidisciplinary field focused on what makes people and places vulnerable to environmental threats from natural, technological, or human-induced threats. This research examines the different impacts of hazards and risks on people and the places they live and will develop new methods and models for measuring vulnerability (and resilience) to extreme events and chronic risks at the local level. Two place-based case studies will serve as test-beds for linking theory, concepts, methods, and models in a GIS-based decision support tool kit. The case study sites, Los Angeles, CA and Charleston, SC were chosen based on the mix of common and unique hazards (hurricanes, earthquakes), a range in scale-dependent complexities of the regions, the nature of the built environment, and the local knowledge of team members.

Research Team:
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Susan Cutter (Geography), Madilyn Fletcher (Marine Sciences), Cary Mock (Geography), Walter Piegorsch (Statistics), John Rose (Computer Science & Engineering), John Shafer (Earth Sciences and Resources Institute), Mathew Schmidtlein (Geography), Roland Deutsch (Statistics)

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John Wilson (Geography), Thomas Jordan (Southern California Earthquake Center), Jennifer Swift (Civil & Environmental Engineering), Mark Benthien (Earth Sciences), Zaria Tatalovich (Geography).

Research Findings:
Schmidtlein, M., J. Shafer, M. Berry, and S.L. Cutter, 2010. Modeled earthquake losses and social vulnerability in Charleston, South Carolina. Applied Geography: doi: 10.1016/j.apgeog.2010.06.001

Schmidtlein, Mathew C., Roland C. Deutsch, Walter W. Piegorsch, and Susan L. Cutter, 2008. Building indexes of vulnerability: A sensitivity analysis of the Social Vulnerability Index. Risk Analysis 28 (4): 1099-1114.

Cutter, S. L. and C. Finch, 2008. "Temporal and spatial changes in social vulnerability to natural hazards," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105 (7): 2301-2306.