Disaster Resilience in Rural Communities
Funding:  Pending Grant from the National Science Foundation
Project Date Range:

Project Summary

 This research will contribute toward the collective social good of increasing the resilience of rural communities to disasters by developing a conceptual framework of the barriers to change. This framework can be used as a diagnostic aid to empower institutions and individuals to selectively focus attention and resources on strategies to overcome or circumvent barriers. Much evidence speaks to the futility of endeavors by federal or state authorities to dictate change at the local level. Instead, the facts point out that governance today is increasingly realizing a decentralized, networked approach in which local entities retain strong powers of self-determination. Such approaches are generally proving successful because each community is unique, both in terms of its physical and social infrastructure, but also in terms of its culture, history, and identity. And yet there remains a need to coordinate activities of higher levels and to hold agency activities accountable to performance standards. This research will improve the ability of agencies to conduct their outreach and support activities designed to enhance disaster resilience and at the same time will empower local communities to pursue paths of change consistent with community visions of the preferred life. The intellectual merits outlined above better enable communities and governmental agencies to enter into a productive dialogue about how to improve disaster resilience without sacrificing qualities of home that are central to the livelihoods and satisfactions of local residents.

Read more about the theoretical background of this project.

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