Early recovery is a critical juncture point in the disaster cycle to uplift people from hardship and instability while preparing, communicating, and understanding the geospatial terrain of damage. To better understand early recovery, our team set out on a field visit to Southeastern Louisiana to gather fundamental knowledge about gaps in early recovery that exist within communities. In speaking with a range of stakeholders, including residents, organizations, and government officials, fractures began to emerge that illuminated the gaps that were stalling early recovery functions. Our takeaways revealed the distrust of institutional support, voids in services, strained communication networks, and uncoordinated damage assessment methods. These emerging themes contextualized the complex process of early disaster recovery that includes a multitude of actors and specialties.
Urban planners are in a unique position to align the functions and actors within early disaster recovery, yet their role has been limited. In bringing planning to the forefront of early disaster recovery, we can shorten the time for restoration of critical services and meet long-term resilience goals. Drawing from our field visit experiences, in conjunction with our research, we developed three takeaways for innovation within the field, specifically at the intersection of planning and early disaster recovery. These include planners as intermediaries, the merging of technology and local support, and the use of damage assessments.
Hannah Boettcher, Jane Dixon, Kiley Fitzgerald, Elise Grongstad, Jon Haadsma, Laura Melendez, Jeffrey Pritchard, Danielle Stewart, Robert Svoboda
Anthony Vanky, Meixin Yuan