USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development

Contents of Recent Issues

Volume 25, No. 3 (November 2007)

Articles by:

    Jennifer S. Evans-Cowley and Meghan Zimmerman Gough, "Is Hazard Mitigation Being Incorporated into Post-Katrina Plans in Mississippi?" pp. 177–217.

      Hurricane Katrina caused the worst hurricane damage ever seen on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  Immediately following the hurricane, the Mississippi Governor's Commission for Recovery, Rebuilding, and Renewal provided teams of planners and designers to work with communities along the coast to prepare rebuilding plans.  The initial plans have been followed up with further long-range planning.  This paper examines the degree to which hazard mitigation has been incorporated into the long-range plans developed in the communities along the coast in Harrison County, Mississippi, 18 months after Katrina.  It finds that hazard mitigation has been significantly integrated into some community plans, whereas in other cases it has been ignored.  Although the literature suggests that immediate experience with a natural disaster should increase citizen and local government response to disaster mitigation, this study found that the degree of storm surge inundation did not have a significant impact on whether communities integrated hazard mitigation measures into their plans.  The paper concludes by offering recommendations on how these communities can improve their plans relative to hazard mitigation measures as they move into their next phase of long-range planning.  (AA)

    Sudha Arlikatti, Michael K. Lindell, and Carla S. Prater, "Perceived Stakeholder Role Relationships and Adoption of Seismic Hazard Adjustments," pp. 218–256.

      This study examined the relationships among perceived stakeholder characteristics, risk perceptions, respondent characteristics, and self-reported adoption of 16 seismic hazard adjustments by residents in areas of high and medium seismic risk.  Seven stakeholder types, ranging from the federal government to the respondents themselves, were rated on three characteristics-seismic hazard knowledge, trustworthiness, and responsibility for taking action to protect households.  Respondents rated their hazard knowledge as higher than that of peers, indicating optimistic bias.  However, they also rated their hazard knowledge as lower than that of authorities and the news media-confirming that there are limits to optimistic bias.  Partial correlation analyses indicated that perceived stakeholder characteristics influenced hazard adjustment by both central and peripheral routes to behavioral change.  Paradoxically, respondents' adoption of hazard adjustments was more strongly correlated with the perceived characteristics of peers, even though these were rated lower on hazard knowledge, trustworthiness, and protection responsibility.  Although the effects were marginally significant, perceived stakeholder characteristics were related to respondents' characteristics (location, gender, and ethnicity).  This suggests risk communicators should consider tailoring their choice of sources as well as the content of their messages to different audience segments.  (AA)

Book Review by:

    Carla S. Prater, on Thomas A. Birkland, Lessons of Disaster: Policy Change After Catastrophic Events, pp. 257–260.


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School of Policy, Planning, and Development
University of Southern California
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