Population Vulnerability Analysis, Spatial Social Science, and GIS
This project applied the theoretical perspective of vulnerability science and spatial social science techniques to better identify which groups within the population are most vulnerable in the event of an extreme natural disaster or terrorist or bioterrorist attack. The project assisted in the development of more valid metrics for comparing relative levels of vulnerability within the population taking into account location, group characteristics and resources. Such metrics were tested in light of the uneven social impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans and coastal Mississippi. The empirical identification of vulnerable populations and their incorporation into preparedness and response planning is a key outcome of this research.
The project also helped support the updates of SHELDUS (Spatial Hazards & Events Database for the US) (see sheldus.org); and the improvements in the Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI) (see sovius.org), especially the development of a web-interface for local responders.
The project employed advanced spatial analytical methods and tools including GIS and spatial statistics. The team also used survey research, archival research, and field observations as part of the methodological approach to the project.