Open Access Publications

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Open access publications by faculty, staff, postdocs, and graduate students from the Disaster Research Center.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
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    Climate change adaptation to extreme heat: a global systematic review of implemented action
    (Oxford Open Climate Change, 2021-06-01) Turek-Hankins, Lynée L.; Coughlan de Perez, Erin; Scarpa, Giulia; Ruiz-Diaz, Raquel; Schwerdtle, Patricia Nayna; Joe, Elphin Tom; Galappaththi, Eranga K.; French, Emma M.; Austin, Stephanie E.; Singh, Chandni; Siña, Mariella; Siders, A. R.; van Aalst, Maarten K.; Templeman, Sienna; Nunbogu, Abraham M.; Berrang-Ford, Lea; Agrawal, Tanvi; the Global Adaptation Mapping Initiative team; Mach, Katharine J.
    Extreme heat events impact people and ecosystems across the globe, and they are becoming more frequent and intense in a warming climate. Responses to heat span sectors and geographic boundaries. Prior research has documented technologies or options that can be deployed to manage extreme heat and examples of how individuals, communities, governments and other stakeholder groups are adapting to heat. However, a comprehensive understanding of the current state of implemented heat adaptations—where, why, how and to what extent they are occurring—has not been established. Here, we combine data from the Global Adaptation Mapping Initiative with a heat-specific systematic review to analyze the global extent and diversity of documented heat adaptation actions (n = 301 peer-reviewed articles). Data from 98 countries suggest that documented heat adaptations fundamentally differ by geographic region and national income. In high-income, developed countries, heat is overwhelmingly treated as a health issue, particularly in urban areas. However, in low- and middle-income, developing countries, heat adaptations focus on agricultural and livelihood-based impacts, primarily considering heat as a compound hazard with drought and other hydrological hazards. 63% of the heat-adaptation articles feature individuals or communities autonomously adapting, highlighting how responses to date have largely consisted of coping strategies. The current global status of responses to intensifying extreme heat, largely autonomous and incremental yet widespread, establishes a foundation for informed decision-making as heat impacts around the world continue to increase.
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    Introduction: Managed retreat and environmental justice in a changing climate
    (Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 2021-05-15) Siders, A. R.; Ajibade, Idowu
    In response to global climate change, managed retreat has emerged as a controversial adaptation strategy. The purposeful movement of people and communities away from hazardous places raises numerous social and environmental justice concerns that will become even more pressing as retreat occurs more frequently and at larger scales. This special issue contributes to an emerging body of literature on managed retreat by providing a range of perspectives and approaches to considering justice in managed retreat. The assembled papers represent diverse voices (including perspectives from individuals whose communities are currently relocating or considering relocation), disciplines (including oral histories, legal analyses, and cultural heritage considerations), and lenses through which to consider the justice implications of managed retreat. They describe completed, in-progress, and foiled relocations. They suggest opportunities for improvement through improved evaluations and broader collaborations. While each presents a unique lens, key themes emerge around the need for transparent and equitable policies, self-determination of communities, holistic metrics for assessing individual and community well-being, the importance of culture both as something to be protected and an asset to be leveraged, and the need to address historical and systemic injustices that contribute to vulnerability and exposure to risk.
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    Adaptation to compound climate risks: A systematic global stocktake
    (iScience, 2023-02-17) Simpson, Nicholas P.; Williams, Portia Adade; Mach, Katharine J.; Berrang-Ford, Lea; Biesbroek, Robbert; Haasnoot, Marjolijn; Segnon, Alcade C.; Campbell, Donovan; Musah-Surugu, Justice Issah; Joe, Elphin Tom; Nunbogu, Abraham Marshall; Sabour, Salma; Meyer, Andreas L.S.; Andrews, Talbot M.; Singh, Chandni; Siders, A.R.; Lawrence, Judy; van Aalst, Maarten; Trisos, Christopher H.; The Global Adaptation Mapping Initiative Team
    Highlights: • Compound climate impacts are particularly hard to adapt to • Compound vulnerabilities and exposures constrain adaptation capabilities • Inappropriate responses to climate change can lead to maladaptation • Compound impacts can have cascading effects on response options Summary: This article provides a stocktake of the adaptation literature between 2013 and 2019 to better understand how adaptation responses affect risk under the particularly challenging conditions of compound climate events. Across 39 countries, 45 response types to compound hazards display anticipatory (9%), reactive (33%), and maladaptive (41%) characteristics, as well as hard (18%) and soft (68%) limits to adaptation. Low income, food insecurity, and access to institutional resources and finance are the most prominent of 23 vulnerabilities observed to negatively affect responses. Risk for food security, health, livelihoods, and economic outputs are commonly associated risks driving responses. Narrow geographical and sectoral foci of the literature highlight important conceptual, sectoral, and geographic areas for future research to better understand the way responses shape risk. When responses are integrated within climate risk assessment and management, there is greater potential to advance the urgency of response and safeguards for the most vulnerable. Graphical abstract at:
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    Promoting Spatial Coordination in Flood Buyouts in the United States: Four Strategies and Four Challenges from the Economics of Land Preservation Literature
    (Natural Hazards Review, 2023-02-01) Dineva, Polina K.; McGranaghan, Christina; Messer, Kent D.; Palm-Forster, Leah H.; Paul, Laura A.; Siders, A. R.
    Managed retreat in the form of voluntary flood-buyout programs provides homeowners with an alternative to repairing and rebuilding residences that have sustained severe flood damage. Buyout programs are most economically efficient when groups of neighboring properties are acquired because they can then create unfragmented flood control areas and reduce the cost of providing local services. However, buyout programs in the United States often fail to acquire such efficient, unfragmented spaces, for various reasons, including long administrative timelines, the way in which buyout offers are made, desires for community cohesion, and attachments to place. Buyout programs have relied primarily on posted price mechanisms involving offers that are accepted or rejected by homeowners with little or no negotiation. In this paper, we describe four alternative strategies that have been used successfully in land-preservation agricultural–environmental contexts to increase acceptance rates and decrease fragmentation: agglomeration bonuses, reverse auctions, target constraints, and hybrid approaches. We discuss challenges that may arise during their implementation in the buyout context—transaction costs, equity and distributional impacts, unintended consequences, and social pressure—and recommend further research into the efficiency and equity of applying these strategies to residential buyout programs with the explicit goal of promoting spatial coordination.
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    Managing disaster risk associated with critical infrastructure systems: a system-level conceptual framework for research and policy guidance
    (Civil Engineering and Environmental Systems, 2022-04-25) Davidson, Rachel A.; Kendra, James; Ewing, Bradley; Nozick, Linda K.; Starbird, Kate; Cox, Zachary; Leon-Corwin, Maggie
    This paper presents a new conceptual framework of the disaster risk of critical infrastructure systems in terms of societal impacts. Much research on infrastructure reliability focuses on specific issues related to the technical system or human coping. Focusing on the end goal of infrastructure services – societal functioning – this framework offers a new way to understand how those more focused research areas connect and the current thinking in each. Following an overview of the framework, each component is discussed in turn, including the initial buildout of physical systems; event occurrence; service interruptions; service provider response; user adaptations to preserve or create needed services; and the ending deficit in societal function. Possible uses of the framework include catalysing and guiding a systematic research agenda that could ultimately lead to a computational framework and stimulating discussion on resilience within utility and emergency management organisations and the larger community.
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    A Framework for Evaluating the Effects of Green Infrastructure in Mitigating Pollutant Transferal and Flood Events in Sunnyside, Houston, TX
    (Sustainability, 2022) Newman, Galen; Sansom, Garett T.; Yu, Siyu; Kirsch, Katie R.; Li, Dongying; Kim, Youjung; Horney, Jennifer A.; Kim, Gunwoo; Musharrat, Saima
    There is a growing and critical need to develop solutions for communities that are at particular risk of the impacts of the nexus of hazardous substances and natural disasters. In urban areas at high risk for flooding and lacking proper land-use controls, communities are vulnerable to environmental contamination from industrial land uses during flood events. This research uniquely applied a series of landscape pzerformance models to evaluate such associations including (1) the Green Values National Stormwater Calculator, (2) the Value of Green Infrastructure Tool, and (3) the Long-Term Hydrologic Impact Assessment Model. This paper presents a framework for combining landscape performance models, which are often only individually applied, to evaluate green infrastructure impacts on flood mitigation and pollutant transfer during flooding events using the Sunnyside neighborhood in Houston, Texas, USA, as a case site. The results showed that the plan reduced the risk of flooding, decreased stormwater runoff contaminants, and provided a possible direction to protect vulnerable communities.
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    ‘Inspired to Action’: Immigrants’ Faith-Based Organizations’ Responses across Two Pandemics
    (Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, 2022-02-12) Maduka-Ezeh, Awele; Bagozzi, Benjamin E.; Gardesey, Mawuna; Ezeh, Ikwesilotuto T.; Nibbs, Farrah; Nwegbu, Somawina; Mai, Ryan; Horney, Jennifer A.; Trainor, Joseph
    Sources of disaster resilience represent important (but understudied) dimensions of the interplay between immigrants and disasters, as do immigrants’ disaster response activities. Using key informant interviews, we examine immigrant faith-based organizations’ (FBO) responses to two contemporary pandemics. Additionally, we assess for the presence of disaster-relevant social capital in immigrant FBOs. FBOs were found to possess key components of social capital and to actively engage in pandemic response activities, including provision of health risk communication, education, leadership, infection control measures, cash and in-kind contributions, advocacy, and psychosocial support. For immigrant communities, FBO-based social capital contributes to effective disaster and pandemic responses.
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