Toward Resilient Communities : Examining the Impacts of Local Governments in Disasters book cover
1st Edition

Toward Resilient Communities
Examining the Impacts of Local Governments in Disasters

ISBN 9781138194045
Published December 1, 2015 by Routledge
224 Pages

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Book Description

In June 2011, the city of Minot, North Dakota sustained the greatest flood in its history. Rather than buckling under the immense weight of the flood on a personal and community level, government, civic groups, and citizens began to immediately assess and address the event’s impacts. Why did the disaster in Minot lead to government and community resilience, whereas during Hurricane Katrina, the non-resilience of the government and community of New Orleans resulted in widespread devastation?

This book seeks to answer that question by examining how local government institutions affect pre- and post-disaster community and business resilience. Utilizing both survey methods and interviews, Atkinson analyzes the disasters that occurred in New Orleans, Louisiana, Palm Beach County, Florida, and Minot, North Dakota. He argues that institutional culture within local government impacts not only the immediate outcomes experienced during response, but the long-term prognosis of recovery for a community outside the walls of city hall. Understanding tendencies within a community that lead to increased vulnerability of both individuals and businesses can lead to shifts in governmental/community priorities, and potentially to improved resilience in the face of hazard events.

Relevant to scholars of public administration, disaster researchers, and government officials, this book contributes to a growing literature on community and business resilience. It explores not just the devastation of natural disasters, but profiles governmental impacts that led to responsive and able processes in the face of disaster.

Table of Contents

Preface. 1. Local Government Impacts on Resilience in Disaster. 2. Resilience, Vulnerability, and Neo-institutionalism. 3. Local Government Institutions in Disaster: Context and Complexity. 4. Public Procurement and Economic Development at the Local Level. 5. The New Orleans Region and Hurricane Katrina. 6. Palm Beach County and Hurricane Wilma. 7. Minot, North Dakota and the Mouse River Flood. 8. Toward Resilient Communities: Coming to Terms with the Threat.

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Christopher L. Atkinson has taught courses in the School of Public Administration at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida. He received his PhD from Florida Atlantic University. His research interests include public management and policy studies, neo-institutionalism, regulation, and emergency management.


“Community disaster resilience recently has been utilized frequently and become a relevant framework for scholars and practitioners in the field of disaster management. This book contributes to the growing literature on community resilience with a specific emphasis on resiliency of business community in relation to local governance. The book not only provides theoretical perspectives on resilience but also offer practical insight for professionals in the field.”
—Naim Kapucu, University of Central Florida

“Understanding business disaster planning is an important topic not only to small, medium, and large companies, but also to local government officials.  This text gives prime examples of the impact of planning on the community as a whole.”
—Stacey Mann, Jacksonville State University