Evolving Approaches to Understanding Natural Hazards
The 21st century presents many challenges to the hazard manager; dynamic climatic conditions combined with population growth, rapid urbanization, and changing socio-economic relationships are reshaping disaster impacts, community responses, and social safety mechanisms. Indeed, human vulnerability is constantly restructured by the ongoing interplay of physical, social, economic, and political forces. At the same time, reducing vulnerability and enhancing community resilience require policies aimed at mitigating the consequences of disasters as they affect different locations and different groups, requiring sound scientifically-based research to further an understanding of the forces at play, and to devise appropriate means to counter them. It is within this context that this book examines evolving approaches to natural hazards.
Research into natural hazards has a long tradition beginning with a focus on physical processes and evolving into an interdisciplinary agenda that incorporates interactions between the physical and human environments, embracing initiatives ranging from the physical to the socio-economic and political. It utilises various methodological approaches and technological advances, employing both quantitative and qualitative procedures. The papers included in this book offer insights into the development of applied hazards research, as they build on previous work, evolving technologies, improved understandings of the factors involved, and increased awareness of the needs of those who manage hazards. This volume shows an appreciation for the foundation that has been set, and will inspire future researchers as they look to address these very pressing social issues.
Graham Tobin is a Professor in the School of Geosciences at the University of South Florida. He received his BA degree from Durham University, England, and his PhD from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. His research interests in natural hazards, water resources policy, and environmental contamination examine human vulnerability, community sustainability and resilience, social networks, and health conditions in hazardous environments. His current research focuses on the volcano hazards in Ecuador and Mexico, earthquakes in New Zealand, and hurricanes in Florida, USA.
Burrell Montz is Professor and Chair of the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment at East Carolina University. She received her PhD from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her research interests center on natural hazards, water resources management, and environmental impact analysis. Her current research addresses the impacts of population growth and climate change on water availability, management options for emerging contaminants, and various hazard topics including the flow and use of information on decision-making by emergency managers and the public.
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