Date of Award

Spring 5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science & Geography


Graduate Program in International studies

Committee Director

Jesse T. Richman

Committee Member

Joshua Behr

Committee Member

Matthew DiLorenzo

Committee Member

Nicole Hutton


Natural hazards caused by the alteration of weather patterns expose populations at risk, with an outcome of economic loss, property damage, personal injury, and loss of life. The unpredictability of disasters is a topic of concern to most governments. Disaster policies need more attention in aligning mitigation opportunities with disaster housing recovery (DHR). The effect of flooding, which primarily impacts housing in coastal areas, is one of the most serious issues associated with natural hazard. Flooding has a variety of causes and implications, especially for vulnerable populations who are exposed to it. DHR is complex, involving the need for effective coordination of resources, and labor. Understanding how the relationship between the build back better philosophy (i.e.: wherein the rebuild is intended to reduce future risk), the quality of the houses, and the income of the householder’s works is beneficial to prepare a resilient housing recovery plan.

What are the main sources of obstacles experienced in the DHR process? How might outcomes be improved? This study attempts to answer those questions using data collection from Long-Term Recovery Group (LTRG) members in disaster areas. The analysis of LTRG member experiences provides a valuable perspective with the potential to improve the DHR process and mitigate future impacts.

The goal is to understand and create awareness of factors impeding the recovery from previous disasters using the information obtained from the LTRG members to analyzed with various content analysis software to ascertain best practices to inform disaster policies for potential improvement of the recovery process. Using a content analysis technique provides a big picture of the main issues affecting the recovery.

The key lessons learned from the LTRG members are that three major delay factors: planning, governance, and communication are impeding the improvement of the DHR process. It is essential to have an LTRG running before a disaster occurs -including a disaster plan focused on funding, labor, and resilient recovery. A more transparent governance – with some decentralization of the process, and more up-to-date disaster policies. A direct line of communication to overcome gaps including lack of communication and trusting in the process.


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