Preparing for Mass Relocation from Disasters - Vicki Bier

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Environment / Nature - Lecture/Discussion

Date & Time: Tuesday, March 21, 2017
12:15 PM-1:15 PM
Suggested Audiences: Elders, Adult, College
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Clark University: Higgins University Center
Lurie Conference Room
950 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01610
Cost: free
Sponsored by: The George Perkins Marsh Institute and the Jeanne X. Kasperson Research Library Seminar Series
Description: Dr. Vicki Bier is a Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she also holds a joint appointment in the Department of Engineering Physics, and directs the Center for Human Performance and Risk Analysis.

Abstract: The Japanese nuclear disaster and Hurricane Katrina both make clear that displaced persons can be a problem in the developed world, not only in the developing world. Large numbers of people may need to relocate for extended periods for reasons ranging from nuclear accidents to natural disasters to terrorism to climate change. Moreover, displaced persons who are not political refugees have few legal protections. This talk will: (1) highlight the fact that mass relocation can be a problem for the developed world; (2) review the impacts of such relocation events; (3) discuss characteristics that can lead relocation events to differ from each other; and (4) identify future research needs. The focus throughout is on the relocation, not on any physical damage. Disasters that require relocation can cause significant economic impacts due to business interruption and loss of housing, even if they do not cause extensive loss of life or property damage. Costs of relocation and disaster housing are typically among the largest impacts of a disaster. Unfortunately, disasters in populated areas can easily result in the need to relocate over a million people. Relocation events can differ significantly from each other. For example, consequences can be nonlinear in both the magnitude and the duration of relocation. It is also important to consider whether the relocation is due to a one-time chance event (such as a nuclear-power disaster or a terrorist attack), or a growing threat (e.g., flooding due to sea-level rise), and whether the area will eventually be repopulated, or remain uninhabitable. Costs also depend on the nature of the assets that are interdicted (e.g., loss of unique production capabilities). Finally, distributional effects are important, with increased housing prices causing hardship to low-income renters. Future research is thus important in better preparing for mass relocation.

Note: Seminar is open to all in the Clark community. The format is a 40-45 minute presentation followed by 15-20 minutes of questions and discussion. Interaction with the speaker is encouraged. Light refreshments will be provided. Please feel free to bring your own brown-bag lunch if desired.
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Created: February 14, 2017 at 9:27 AM
Last Modified: February 14, 2017 at 2:07 PM

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