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Organizing Theories for Disasters into a Complex Adaptive System Framework

1
School of Global Public Health, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA
2
Department of Computational and Data Sciences, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 4400, USA
3
Department of Geography, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Sander Meijerink
Urban Sci. 2021, 5(3), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci5030061
Received: 9 July 2021 / Revised: 6 August 2021 / Accepted: 12 August 2021 / Published: 16 August 2021
Increasingly urbanized populations and climate change have shifted the focus of decision makers from economic growth to the sustainability and resilience of urban infrastructure and communities, especially when communities face multiple hazards and need to recover from recurring disasters. Understanding human behavior and its interactions with built environments in disasters requires disciplinary crossover to explain its complexity, therefore we apply the lens of complex adaptive systems (CAS) to review disaster studies across disciplines. Disasters can be understood to consist of three interacting systems: (1) the physical system, consisting of geological, ecological, and human-built systems; (2) the social system, consisting of informal and formal human collective behavior; and (3) the individual actor system. Exploration of human behavior in these systems shows that CAS properties of heterogeneity, interacting subsystems, emergence, adaptation, and learning are integral, not just to cities, but to disaster studies and connecting them in the CAS framework provides us with a new lens to study disasters across disciplines. This paper explores the theories and models used in disaster studies, provides a framework to study and explain disasters, and discusses how complex adaptive systems can support theory building in disaster science for promoting more sustainable and resilient cities. View Full-Text
Keywords: cities; complex adaptive systems; computational social science; disasters; human behavior cities; complex adaptive systems; computational social science; disasters; human behavior
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MDPI and ACS Style

Burger, A.; Kennedy, W.G.; Crooks, A. Organizing Theories for Disasters into a Complex Adaptive System Framework. Urban Sci. 2021, 5, 61. https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci5030061

AMA Style

Burger A, Kennedy WG, Crooks A. Organizing Theories for Disasters into a Complex Adaptive System Framework. Urban Science. 2021; 5(3):61. https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci5030061

Chicago/Turabian Style

Burger, Annetta, William G. Kennedy, and Andrew Crooks. 2021. "Organizing Theories for Disasters into a Complex Adaptive System Framework" Urban Science 5, no. 3: 61. https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci5030061

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