2011 Vol. 2, No. 4

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Adaptive Governance and Managing Resilience to Natural Hazards
Riyanti Djalante, Cameron Holley, Frank Thomalla
2011, 2(4): 1-14. doi: 10.1007/s13753-011-0015-6
The increasing frequency, intensity, and severity of natural hazards is one of the most pressing global environmental change problems. From the local to the global level, governments and civil society need to increase resilience to these hazards. Despite what is now a very sizeable literature on designing governance systems to produce resilience, a substantial gap in the natural hazards scholarship remains because most studies have lacked grounding in comparable theories on governing for resilience. This article contributes to interdisciplinary research on the conceptual understanding of the interlinkages of adaptive governance (AG), resilience, and disaster risk reduction (DRR). Through better understanding of diversity of terminology, terms, and characteristics, we take a step forward towards mutual learning and intellectual experimentation between the three concepts. Our review shows that there are four characteristics of AG that are important to help increase resilience to natural hazards. These are polycentric and multilayered institutions, participation and collaboration, self-organization and networks, and learning and innovation. The article examines the development, tradeoffs, and benefits that arise from the implementation of the AG characteristics, and reviews their influence on resilience. Hazard and disaster case studies are then examined to see how each AG characteristic is viewed and implemented in disaster contexts. Based on this analysis, the contributions of AG to the DRR literature are identified, before outlining the implications for theory and further research.
Outcontracting in Emergency Management: More Than a Business Conundrum
Yvonne Rademacher
2011, 2(4): 15-21. doi: 10.1007/s13753-011-0016-5
Outcontracting is a growing practice by governments as well as by nongovernmental organizations engaged in emergency management. Understanding the role of the private sector in providing equipment and services is critical in ensuring that emergency management is carried out as effectively and efficiently as possible in the best interest of the affected population. This inquiry looks at the types of services that the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) contracts out to both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations and examines the reviews that these services have received by government itself, interest groups, and disaster scientists. The article concludes with an overview of specific functional areas, where the services of either for-profits or not-for-profits are most appropriate in relation to their areas of expertise. The implication drawn from the analysis is that contractors' motivations and expertise need to be clearly understood when awarding government contracts in order to respond effectively to disaster needs and meet taxpayers' expectations.
The Influences of Business and Decision Makers' Characteristics on Disaster Preparedness—A Study on the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake
Ziqiang Han, Joanne Nigg
2011, 2(4): 22-31. doi: 10.1007/s13753-011-0017-4
Disaster preparedness is very important for business continuity, but the determinants of disaster preparedness in business organizations have not been explored much in existing research. Therefore, in this article we undertake to analyze the influences of organizational and decision makers' characteristics on business disaster preparedness. In 1997, eight years after the Loma Prieta earthquake, the Disaster Research Center at University of Delaware conducted a large-scale mail questionnaire survey in Santa Cruz County, California, which was hard-hit by the 1989 earthquake. A total of 933 completed surveys from business organizations were obtained. Our analysis is based on this historical dataset. The results revealed that larger companies are more likely to engage in disaster preparedness activities, which is consistent with previous studies. Companies in finance, insurance, and real estate sectors tend to prepare more for disasters compared with wholesale and retail trade firms. Disaster experience has a significant and positive impact on business disaster preparedness, and the degree of lifeline loss can be a reasonable indicator of the disaster experiences of business organizations. One interesting finding is that the better a company's financial condition is, the less it will engage in preparing for disasters. Finally, the risk perception of business owners or decision makers has a statistically significant and consistent positive effect on business disaster preparedness activities.
The MIKE Model Application to Overtopping Risk Assessment of Seawalls and Levees in Shanghai
Jun Wang, Shiyuan Xu, Mingwu Ye, Jing Huang
2011, 2(4): 32-42. doi: 10.1007/s13753-011-0018-3
This article used MIKE 21 models to evaluate the overtopping risk of seawalls and levees from the combined effect of land subsidence, storm tide, and sea level rise in Shanghai. Typhoon storm tides are the primary natural hazard affecting the Shanghai area. The worst storm tide in recent history was No. 9711, which produced a high tide of 5.99 m. Projections indicate that sea level will rise by 86.6 mm, 185.6 mm, and 433.1 mm by 2030, 2050, and 2100, respectively. The combined impact of these hazards threatens to flood large parts of the Shanghai area in the future. By 2030, 4.31 percent of the total length of the seawalls and levees in Shanghai will be at risk to being overtopped. By 2050, 27.55 percent of all seawalls and levees are likely to be overtopped. By 2100, overtopping will increase to 45.98 percent. The high risk of seawall and levee exposure to overtopping is closely related to the functional impact of land subsidence on the height of existing seawalls and levees. We propose specific engineering measures for Shanghai based on the results of our overtopping simulations.