The 2015 Annual Meeting of Association of American Geographers was held in Chicago. The meeting was a success as a lot of people from all over the world attended and presented in the meeting. Other than enjoying Chicago and its nice weather, I presented in the Resilience and Risk Communication session about the financial losses southern counties of Florida will experience due to storm-surge. I found that other than being urban, the southern counties of Broward, Collier, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach are experiencing a consistent population growth at a rate of 1 – 1.6% over the past decade. Furthermore, the single family residences are present within 5 – 7.5 miles of the coast. Based on a storm surge model built on the characteristics of Hurricane Katrina, I also found that most of the residences will experience a 100% damage if they are within 1 mile of the coast to 35% damage if they are present within 8 miles of the coast. So, how much damage these counties will experience in case of sea-level rise?
The discussion about building resilient communities focuses on reducing the recovery time and also reducing the impacts of future hazard events. However, the question arises when growth happens in locations that are already at high-risk – can we really be resilient if we are already in high-risk? Or is it just a myth? Risk communication requires an understanding of the risk so as to inform the public to take appropriate preparatory actions. However, if we deny climate change and its adverse impacts and still live in high-risk zones, then to what extent risk communication will be effective? Finally, geo-spatial science and computer science have been extensively used to predict scenarios of hazard impacts. However, it seems there is a gap between the outcome of these research and how they are used by other research communities and stakeholders. So, what is the role of academics and researchers to bridge the gap and create a resilient community in real sense?
Please post your comments and questions below!