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College of Arts & Sciences
Hazards & Vulnerability Research Institute

Identifying and Analyzing the Driving Forces of Hurricane Recovery for Disaster Stricken Areas to Improve Long-term Planning

Lead Investigators:  Susan L. Cutter and Christopher T. Emrich

Partners:  Daniel LoFaro, FEMA Recovery Directorate, Christina Finch, FEMA Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, South Carolina Emergency Management Agency (Steven Batson, Melissa Potter, Elizabeth Potter), Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Joint Field Office


Cutter, S.L., R. L. Schumann III, and C. T. Emrich, 2014.  Exposure, Social Vulnerability, and Recovery Disparities in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy, J. Extreme Events 1(1):145002-1-23.

Cutter, S. L. and C. T. Emrich, 2015.  A Tale of Two Recoveries: 5 Lessons from Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, Emergency Management, June 25, 2015

Recovery is the least studied aspect of emergency management, and past research suggests that a recovery timeline and trajectory are directly related to the impact and initial response time period.  However, recent experience suggests disaster recovery is more complex, multidimensional, and non-linear process with clear spatial, social, and policy dimensions.  The purpose of this project is to provide an approach for systematically monitoring and analyzing, with empirical data, coastal recovery trends and processes for use within the National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF).  

This project builds on established models for (a) measuring social vulnerability and (b) identifying different phases of the recovery process in Mississippi (after Hurricane Katrina) and in New Jersey (after Hurricane Sandy) by

1)      Developing new and augmenting existing methods for measuring recovery.

2)      Identify and utilize new indicators for tracking reconstruction progress (i.e., building permits, repeat photography);

3)  Combining those methods with the established models listed above to provide a more comprehensive capability to track, measure, and compare recovery across regions. 

 4)  Developing methods and analytical tools for geospatially representing these data and   the resulting analysis for display in maps and other geospatial formats.