The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning

Faculty and Students Attend Natural Hazards Workshop

Faculty and Students Attend Natural Hazards Workshop

Natural Hazards Workshop

Networking Among Nonprofits to Build Disaster Recovery Capacity in Puerto Rico

Community organizations play critical roles in disaster recovery, owing to their abilities to motivate volunteerism, assess local needs, and distribute goods and aid. However, few such organizations have the capacity to successfully navigate the dynamism and uncertainty of the disaster recovery process. Networking and communication can provide these organizations with new avenues of information and action, boost their diminished capacities, provide better means of community representation, and improve cognition of emerging risks to which a community is exposed, improving a community’s ability to act on that information. Social networking also helps organizations better respond to disasters by facilitating information exchange, collective action, and access to new resources for recovery. Apart from these preliminary insights, however, few studies have systematically analyzed the benefits of interorganizational communication among community organizations for local recovery. In this study, we use a mixed-methods approach, including surveys and key informant interviews, to examine the ways and means in which interorganizational communication improves post-disaster recovery efforts of community-based organizations. We focus on the impact of Common Idea, a new network of local community-based and nonprofit organizations in San Juan, Puerto Rico, considering their individual operations, knowledge seeking, and resource access after Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Divya Chandrasekhar, University of Utah
Ivis Garcia, University of Utah

Diversifying Response: Coming Together to Improve Communication and Disaster Science in Puerto Rico

The devastation in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017 has necessitated the convergence of experts from across disciplines, local and federal government agencies, and academic institutions. Efforts to measure impacts and engage in the recovery process are producing remarkable results, but more focus could be given to breaking down traditional silos, improving communication, and applying results to achieve lasting change. In this session, panelists will discuss how they have convened diverse teams to study the impacts of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.