Research Counts

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The Research Counts series serves as a platform for hazards and disaster scholars to provide insights about research findings and the enduring lessons of disaster, as well as to raise new questions that are worthy of exploration. The pieces in the series are brief, drawn from a variety of disciplines, and intended for a broad audience.

If you are interested in contributing to this series, please contact Natural Hazards Center Director Lori Peek directly at lori.peek@colorado.edu.


By Kai Erikson

In this piece, Kai Erikson reminds us that lessons from Katrina are enduring and that the harm and suffering from the most recent disasters will trace a similar trajectory if we do not address the social injustices that existed long before the shock.


By Lynn Weber

In the rush to help people recover after disasters, inequitable systems are often put into place that promote injustice and discrimination. This piece examine how that happened after Hurricane Katrina—and how it's likely to happen again following Maria.


By Alexa Dietrich, Adriana Garriga-López and Aman Luthra

Months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is far from recovery and in the midst of a humanitarian crisis. This piece looks at how U.S. territorial status has led to mounting woes before and after the storm that affect the welfare of its residents.


By Shannon Van Zandt

Helping policymakers understand the true stakes of disaster decision making is one way to really make sure research counts, and this transcript on housing considerations following Hurricane Harvey is one example.


By Susan Cutter and Christopher Emrich

As emergency officials attempt to allocate scarce resources following disasters, systematic measurements of social vulnerability—such as the Social Vulnerability Index—can assure help goes to those who need it most.


By Craig Trumbo

The decision to evacuate or shelter in place during disasters can sometimes seem black and white, but many elements are at play—not the least of which is how individuals perceive risk.


By Nicole Hutton

It's not necessary to rebuild buildings after a disaster to rebuild thriving city centers. Nicole Hutton explains how simple projects can create gathering spaces that help cities begin to hum again, even amidst construction.


By Katherine Browne

Recovery is not one-size-fits-all and emergency officials that incorporate a sense of place and community identity into recovery efforts can have a huge impact on the success of the people who live there.


By Samantha Montano and Paolo Cavaliere

Including the public in disaster recovery planning might seem obvious, but it's a step that's often not given enough attention. This article offers tips to make sure recovery is a participatory process.


By Steve Kroll-Smith, Pamela Jenkins and Vern Baxter

The devastation caused by disaster can reverberate through people’s lives for years, causing a cascade of other problems. This article reflects on the elusiveness of true recovery.