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Resilience and postdisaster relocation : a study of New York's home buyout plan in the wake of Hurricane Sandy

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Title:Resilience and postdisaster relocation : a study of New York's home buyout plan in the wake of Hurricane Sandy
Authors:Binder, Sherri Brokopp
Date Issued:May 2014
Publisher:[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2014]
Abstract:Natural disasters can have catastrophic impacts on communities. In the most severe cases, disaster survivors whose homes have been destroyed may choose or be forced to relocate. This is the decision faced by many residents of New York whose homes or communities were damaged by Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012. In the aftermath of this disaster, New York launched programs designed to encourage residents to permanently relocate out of the hardest hit areas. Home buyout programs such as these are becoming increasingly popular as postdisaster mitigation measures, though little is known about what factors influence homeowners to rebuild or resettle after a catastrophic event. This study used mixed-methods to assess the relationship between resilience and the relocation decision in two communities that, despite similar exposure to Sandy, made different decisions regarding whether or not to pursue a buyout. The sample was composed of residents from Oakwood Beach and Rockaway Park, both working-class communities in New York City, who participated via a community survey (N=173) and/or indepth interviews (N=28). Resilience, which has been shown to be important in disaster response, was assessed using the Communities Advancing Resilience Toolkit (CART; Pfefferbaum, Pfefferbaum, & Van Horn, 2011), with supplemental measures of Sense of Community and Sense of Place. The results suggested that resilience (specifically, measures of connection and caring, transformative potential, resources, sense of community, and sense of place) played an important role in moderating the relationship between contextual community factors and the buyout decision. Further, while both communities displayed resilient responses to Sandy, contextual factors (including the community's history of natural disasters, local cultural norms, and place attachment) helped to explain the trajectory of resilience in each community, influencing one community toward rebuilding and one toward relocation as an adaptive response. These findings suggest that when faced with a decision of whether or not to accept a buyout, resilient communities may benefit from having the capacity to collectively respond to, process, and recover from the associated disaster event, though contextual factors may influence the path of recovery (rebuilding or relocation) that is chosen.
Description:Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014.
Includes bibliographical references.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Psychology

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