How is disaster resilience perceived by local government officials and translated into their response and recovery efforts? Local Disaster Resilience: Administrative and Political Perspectives systematically explores this question through secondary data sources as well as original surveys of county emergency managers and elected municipal officials. A measure of capacity for disaster resilience is presented and analyzed for 75 Gulf Coast counties. Additionally, perceptions and experiences of local officials across 56 counties and 122 municipalities in the Gulf Coast region are assessed. These findings of these analyses shed light on how resilience is understood by local officials and on the attributes and circumstances that facilitate the development of resilience on the local level.
Measuring Disaster Resilience
Broadly, disaster resilience can be defined as a set of adaptive capacities that imbue a community with the strengths needed to respond, cope, and recover from a disaster event as well as a process of collective action enabled by these capacities to adapt to the post-disaster environment. Measuring resilience in a meaningful way requires that we assess a community’s adaptive capacity or its collective strengths and abilities to prevent, withstand, and manage a disaster event. Adaptive capacities largely entail tangible products and observable characteristics of a community. As outlined in the book, these can be broken into the following components:
- Social capacity for resilience is the aggregation of a community’s characteristics including age, education levels, wealth, and language capacity that translate to able, mobile, and resource-enabled individuals in the event of a disaster.
- Community capital refers to the connectedness of community members that enable cooperation and collaboration in disaster planning, response, and recovery.
- Economic capacity for resilience refers to the robustness and diversity of a community’s economy.
- Institutional capacity for resilience concerns the plans and preparations a community has made for disasters.
- Infrastructure capacity for resilience refers to a community’s basic public service capacity in terms of shelter, roads, and medical facilities that may be needed in the event of a disaster.
- Ecological capacity for resilience speaks to how community development has affected natural coastal barriers such as wetlands.
An index of adaptive capacity for resilience was created that replicates Susan Cutter’s BRIC model for 75 counties across the Gulf Coast using secondary source data. The disaster resilience scores across the sample can be viewed here: Gulf Coast Adaptive Capacities for Resilience Scores.
Adaptive Capacity Scores and Maps
To download datasets reporting the adaptive capacity for disaster resilience scores, click on the following links:
Maps depicting the adaptive capacity for disaster resilience scores as well as the component indices can be viewed here:
Adaptive Capacity Data
The data and codebook for the raw indicators used to construct the adaptive capacity index can be downloaded here:
A description of the construction of the index and analysis of the index data is detailed in Chapter 5 of the the book.
Click on title to open pdf file of the table.
Click on title to open pdf file of the figure.
Unfortunately a few mistakes have been found in the book. Click here a list of corrections: Corrections and Clarification List.