Disaster Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Sustainable Reconstruction (2014)

The Role of Architectural, Planning, and Engineering Education

This event took place from May 8-9, 2014

An event of the

  • Center for Rebuilding Sustainable Communities after Disasters (CRSCAD), McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Boston Architectural College
  • School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation, Roger Williams University, Bristol, Rhode Island

In collaboration with a number of partners and co-sponsors

Detailed conference schedule (PDF)

Conference Overview and Themes

The sessions include the following:

Session 1: Science and Technology Applications to Mitigate Natural Hazards

FOCUS: case studies of various practical and pre-emptive strategies that have been developed and implemented to diminish the dangers to life and property from natural hazard events.  The panel will address the following themes, amongst others: planning, policy and regulation changes, educational programs, and infrastructure projects. The presenters will comprise collaborative stakeholders such as civil engineers, hydrologists and seismologists as well as other technical professionals who are specialists in natural hazards. The topics will include: Floods, Hurricanes, Earthquake and Soil Liquefaction, Atlantic-based Tsunami, Transportation Infrastructure,  Water and Sewer infrastructure, Coastal and Riverine Infrastructure,  Contingency Planning and Mitigation, Flood Insurance in Rising Seas, Urban Forestry Mitigation, and, the interface between natural resource management and disasters, etc.

Special Panel on Animals in Disasters

Special Panel on Data and Disasters

Special Panel on Haiti

Session 2: Disaster Mitigation and Sustainable Reconstruction in the Curricular of Colleges and Universities

The exploration and examination of how disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and sustainable reconstruction after disasters have been, and should be, addressed in the context of architectural, planning and engineering education. Through this session, discussions will be held on curricular opportunities such as online short courses, continuing education options, curricular suggestions for schools in countries most vulnerable to catastrophic disasters, and joint degree programs for schools with appropriate expertise in the topic.

THEMES: How accreditation and validation systems might impact curricular requirements in colleges and universities; Possible funding incentives for faculty and institutional engagement in curricular reform; How and where in a curriculum disaster mitigation and sustainable reconstruction can be introduced and implemented successfully; The influence of online and continuing education opportunities that could affect professional development in engineering, planning, architecture and design communities; Future trends in education (serious gaming, social networking, etc.) and how they might address the expertise needed for sustainable reconstruction after disasters; The ethical and political implications inherent in planning curricula; and, Other topics proposed by participants.

Representatives of regulatory agencies, professional associations, foundations supporting educational initiatives, and academic societies--as well as academic institutions--are encouraged to attend.

Session 3: Response and Recovery Efforts after Disasters

TOPICS: the roles of stakeholders: women, children, the elderly, the differently abled, public and private sectors, community-based organizations, NGOs; Social, cultural and technological aspects of reconstruction including cultural resources recovery in the midst of chaos, etc.

Session 4: Whole Community approach to Disaster Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery

(A presentation, by the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region I and the American Red Cross, discussing the necessity of partnership in preparation for, responding to, and recovering from, catastrophic incidents)

Across the United States, Disaster Response-based organizations such as the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Red Cross recognize that a government-centric approach to emergency management is not enough to meet the challenges posed by today’s catastrophic incident. “Whole Community” is an approach to emergency management which reinforces the idea that no one organization alone has the strengths, capabilities or competencies to successfully respond to and provide holistic recovery assistance for a devastated community.  We know now that we must leverage all of the resources of our collective team in preparing for, protecting against, responding to, recovering from and mitigating against all hazards; and that collectively we must meet the needs of the entire community in each of these areas. This Whole Community Team includes, not only FEMA, Red Cross and their partners at the federal level, but also local, tribal, state and territorial partners; non-governmental organizations like faith-based and nonprofit groups and private sector industry; individuals, families and the community itself, who continue to be the nation’s most important assets as first responders during a disaster.

When the community is engaged in an authentic dialogue, it becomes empowered to identify its needs and the existing resources that may be used to address them. Our presenters in this session are subject matter experts in disaster response and recovery, from a wide variety of professional backgrounds, who have partnered closely for years to strengthen the resilience of communities across New England and the country.

Center for Rebuilding Sustainable Communities after Disasters

Healey Library, 10th floor, Room 1
University of Massachusetts Boston
100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125-3393 USA