243415 Community-based practices of response and preparedness in New Orleans: Bridging the gap between disaster plans and endemic resilience

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 10:30 AM

Martha Feldman, Professor , Department of Planning, Policy and Design, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA
Natalie Baker, Doctoral student , Department of Planning, Policy and Design, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA
Victoria Lowerson, MPH , Planning, Policy and Design, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA
Preparedness and planning for disasters within communities is difficult to achieve in part because plans for organized responses do not fully provide for uncertainty and changing conditions over time. Research suggests that people draw on and adapt everyday practices to negotiate changing disruptions of the immediate and extended effects of disasters, but we know little about how people produce these efforts. Our research project provides an analysis of specific ways that people draw on and alter their everyday practices to produce resilience in the face of disruption. Our findings are based on interviews with thirty-six mental health care providers in the New Orleans conducted in 2008 and 2009 with infrastructure systems in New Orleans still substantially disrupted. We analyze the patterns of action our informants reported over 4 time periods: before the hurricane, during the evacuation period, during the “surreal” period and during the “new normal” period. This approach allows us to see how pieces of practices are modified and combined to create new patterns of action and how patterns of action are adapted to the features of the different time periods. We present our findings to suggest that a community's capacity for resilience and preparedness for disasters is related to their ability to flexibly adapt pre-existing patterns of action.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Program planning
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe a situated-action approach to disaster response. 2. Formulate a narrative network analysis. 3. Assess how plans and situated action can complement each other as approaches to disaster preparedness.

Keywords: Disasters, Community Planning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have been actively involved in all stages of creating and conducting the research presented in the paper with my co-authors.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.