AOC: Disaster, Resilience and the Built Environment on the Gulf Coast

Director: John Logan
Research Theme: Environmental Resources and Population Wellbeing
Location: United States of America
Funding: NSF

Logan looks broadly at the impacts of hurricanes on the Gulf Coast from 1950-2005, questioning whether their effects on population and employment are long-term or short-lived and asking which population groups are more vulnerable to damage and displacement. A significant barrier to such analysis is the lack of detailed information on the actual wind damage from historical hurricanes. Logan and Zengwang Xu examine the potential for hurricane wind models to be used as a basis for filling this important data need. Combining estimates of the geographic extent of hurricane damage with population data, this research shows that there has been a substantial trend of increasing vulnerability to older, poorer, and minority populations even as younger, wealthier, and white populations have tended to relocate away from risky zones. One part of the study includes the four-year period 2005-2009 to determine: 1) the extent of recovery in New Orleans and the Mississippi Coast; 2) the national pattern of displacement of residents and their assimilation into other places; 3) the redistribution of population by race and class within the New Orleans metropolitan region; and 4) the nature and effectiveness of neighborhood participation in redevelopment decisions.