11.941 | Spring 2005 | Graduate

Disaster, Vulnerability and Resilience



Introduction: From Risk to Resilience

JoAnn Carmin, MIT

White, G. F. “The Choice of Use in Resource Management.” Natural Resource Journal 1 (1961): 23-40.


Disaster Vulnerability and Social Resilience

Mark Pelling, King’s College

Pelling, Mark. “Assessing Urban Vulnerability and Social Adaptation to Risk: Evidence from Santo Domingo.” International Development Planning Review 24, no. 1 (2002): 59-76.

———. “Social Vulnerability in the City.” Chapter 3 in The Vulnerability of Cities: Social Resilience and Natural Disaster. London, UK: Earthscan, 2003, pp. 46-67. ISBN: 1853838306.

Bull-Kamanga, L., K. Diagne, A. Lavell, E. Leon, F. Lerise, H. MacGregor, A. Maskrey, M. Meshack, M. Pelling, H. Reid, D. Satterthwaite, J. Songsore, K. Westgate, and A. Yitambe. “From Everyday Hazards to Disasters: The Accumulation of Risk in Urban Areas.” Environment and Urbanization 15, no. 1 (2003): 193-203.

Review: Hyogo Declaration (PDF)

Review of the Yokohama Strategy and Plan of Action for a Safer World. (PDF)


Pelling, Mark. “Natural Disasters?” In Social Nature. Edited by N. Castree, and B. Braun. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001, pp. 170-188. ISBN: 0631215689.

Reducing Disaster Risk: A Challenge for Development. UNDP, 2004. (Particularly chapter 2) (PDF - 3.9 MB)


Community Vulnerability Analysis

Jenny Suckale, Harvard University

Morrow, Betty H. “Targeting Households at Risk for Storms: Community Vulnerability Mapping.” In Storms. Edited by R. Pielke, Jr., and R. Pielke, Sr. Vol. 1. London, UK: Routlege, 2000. ISBN: 0415212863.

Anderson, Mary B. “Vulnerability to Disaster and Sustainable Development: A General Framework for Assessing Vulnerability.” In Storms. Edited by R. Pielke, Jr., and R. Pielke, Sr. Vol. 1. London, UK: Routlege, 2000. ISBN: 0415212863.

Nakagawa, Yuko, and Rajib Shaw. “Social Capital: A Missing Link to Disaster Recovery.” Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters 22, no. 1 (2004): 5-34.

Case Study Materials: Vanuatu Country Page.

Shorten, Graham G., and Susanne Schmall. “Disaster risk management in marginal communities of Port Vila, Vanuatu - Project Summary.” SOPAC Miscellaneous Report 507. 2003.

Shorten, Graham G., ed. “Catastrophe Insurance Pilot Project, Port Vila, Vanuatu: Developing Risk-Management Options for Disasters in the Pacific Region - Project Summary.” SOPAC Miscellaneous Report 550. 2003.


Peacock, Walter G., and A. Kathleen Ragsdale. “Social Systems, Ecological Networks and Disasters.” In Hurricane Andrew: Ethnicity, Gender and the Sociology of Disasters. Edited by W. G. Peacock, B. H. Morrow, and J. Gladwin. New York, NY: Routledge, 1997. ISBN: 0415168112.


Part 1: Climate Instability and Public Health

Paul R. Epstein, Harvard University

Part 2: Environment and War

Jennifer Leaning, Harvard University

Part 1: Climate Instability and Public Health

Epstein, Paul R. “Climate and Health.” Science 285, no. 5426 (1999): 347-348.

———. “Is Global Warming Harmful to Health?” Scientific American (August 2000): 36-43.

Epstein, Paul R., and James J. McCarthy. “Assessing Climate Stability.” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 86, no. 2 (2005): 1-8.

Epstein, Paul R., Henry F. Diaz, Scott Elias, Georg Grabherr, Nicholas E. Graham, Willem J. M. Martens, Ellen Mosley-Thompson, and Joel Susskind. “Biological and Physical Signs of Climate Change: Focus on Mosquito-borne Diseases.” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 79, no. 3 (1998): 409-417.


Disaster Policy and Institutions

Rutherford H. Platt, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Platt, Rutherford. “Introduction: Disasters Before 1950,” and Chapter 1, “Shouldering the Burden.” In Disasters and Democracy. Washington, DC: Island Press, 1999, pp. 1-42. ISBN: 1559636963.

Walker, Peter, Ben Wisner, Jennifer Leaning, and Larry Minear. “Smoke and Mirrors: Deficiencies in Disaster Funding.” BMJ 330 (2005): 247-250.


Transboundary Risk and Public Trust

Ragnar Loefstedt, King’s College

Slovic, P. “Risk Perception.” Science 236 (1987): 280-285.

Kasperson, J. X., and R. E. Kasperson. “Border Crossings.” In Transboundary Risk Management. Edited by J. Linerooth-Bayer, R. E. Lofstedt, and G. Sjostedt. London, UK: Earthscan, 2001. ISBN: 1853835374.

Lofstedt, R. E. “Risk Communication: The Barseack Nuclear Plant Case.” Energy Policy 24, no. 8 (1996): 689-696.

Lofstedt, R. E., and V. Jankauskas. “Swedish Aid and the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant.” In Transboundary Risk Management. Edited by J. Linerooth-Bayer, R. E. Lofstedt, and G. Sjostedt. London, UK: Earthscan, 2001. ISBN: 1853835374.


Slovic, P. “Perceived Risk, Trust and Democracy.” Risk Analysis 13, no. 6 (1993): 675-682.

Burton, I, and R. W. Kates. “The Perception of Natural Hazards in Resource Management.” Natural Resources Journal 3 (1964): 412-441.


Patterns of Social Vulnerability

Kathleen Tierney, University of Colorado-Boulder

Blaikie, P., T. Cannon, I. Davis, and B. Wisner. Chapter 2, “Disaster Pressure and Release Model,” and Chapter 3, “Access to Resources and Coping in Adversity.” In At Risk: Natural Hazards, People’s Vulnerability, and Disasters. London, UK: Routledge, 1994. ISBN: 0415084776.

Morrow, Betty Hearn. “Stretching the Bonds: The Families of Andrew.” In Hurricane Andrew: Ethnicity, Gender and the Sociology of Disasters. Edited by W. G. Peacock, B. H. Morrow, and J. Gladwin. London, UK: Routledge, 1997, pp. 14-170. ISBN: 0415168112.

Tierney, K., M. Lindell, and R. Perry. “Factors Influencing Disaster Preparedness and Response.” Chapter 5 in Facing the Unexpected: Disaster Preparedness and Response in the United States. Washington, DC: Joseph Henry Press, 2001. ISBN: 0309069998.


Disaster Politics and Agenda Setting

Thomas A. Birkland, SUNY Albany

Kingdon, John W. Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1984, pp. 99-105. ISBN: 0673394557.

Birkland, Thomas A. “In the Wake of the Exxon Valdez: How Environmental Disasters Can Spur Policy Change.” Environment 40, no. 7 (1998): 4-9, and 27-32.

———. “Focusing Events, Mobilization, and Agenda Setting.” Journal of Public Policy 18, no. 1 (1998): 53-74.

Birkland, Thomas A., and Radhika Nath. “Business and the Political Dimension in Disaster Management.” Journal of Public Policy 20, no. 3 (2000): 279-303.


Resilient Cities

Lawrence J. Vale, MIT

Vale, Lawrence J., and Thomas J. Campanella. “Introduction: The Cities Rise Again.” and “Conclusion: Axioms of Resilience.” In The Resilient City: How Modern Cities Recover from Disaster. Edited by Lawrence J. Vale, and Thomas J. Campanella. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2005. ISBN: 0195175832.

Governance and Community Resilience

Toddi A. Steelman, North Carolina State University

Brunner, Ronald D. “Problems of Governance.” In Finding Common Ground: Governance and Natural Resources in the American West. Edited by Ronald D. Brunner, Christine H. Colburn, Christina M. Cromley, Roberta A. Klein, and Elizabeth A. Olson. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002, pp. 1-47. ISBN: 0300091451.

Review the materials on “Community Responses to Wildland Fire Threats.”


Threat, Error, and Resilience in High Hazard Settings

Jenny W. Rudolph, Boston University

Reason, J. Chapter 1 in Managing the Risks of Organizational Accidents. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 1997, pp. 1-20. ISBN: 1840141050.

Staw, B. M., L. E. Sandelands, and J. E. Dutton. “Threat-Rigidity Effects in Organizational Behavior: A Multilevel Analysis.” Administrative Science Quarterly 26 (1981): 501-524.

Rudolph, J. W., Steven S. Taylor, and Erica G. Foldy. “Collaborative Off-Line Reflection: A Way to Develop Skill in Action Science and Action Inquiry.” In Handbook of Action Research. Edited by P. Reason, and H. Bradbury. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2001, pp. 405-412. ISBN: 0761966455.


Disaster, Society, and Sustainability

JoAnn Carmin, MIT


Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2005
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments with Examples