Special Issue "Understanding and Preparing for Uncertainty in Sustainable Disaster Risk Management"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sustainability and Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Douglas Paton
Website
Guest Editor
College of Health and Human Sciences, Charles Darwin University, Darwin 0810, Australia
Interests: disaster risk reduction; adaptive capacity; transformative learning; cultural diversity; environment
Prof. David Johnston
Website
Guest Editor
Joint Centre for Disaster Research, Massey University; GNS Science, Wellington, New Zealand
Interests: human responses warnings; crisis decision-making and the role of public education and participation in building community resilience and recovery
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Emma Hudson-Doyle
Website
Chief Guest Editor
Joint Centre for Disaster Research, Massey University; GNS Science, Wellington, New Zealand
Interests: natural hazards and disasters; communicating uncertainty; science advice; emergency management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In disasters, research has identified the importance of a sustainable approach to disaster risk management that considers pre-disaster recovery planning and considers how decisions made during the response and recovery to a disaster can actually enhance preparedness for future disasters, considering all hazards. However, these decisions, and the expected impacts of these decisions, are often subject to high levels of uncertainty. Through this Special Issue, we seek to bridge the gap between uncertainty research and sustainable disaster risk management, to identify and address how uncertainty must be considered in disaster preparedness measures. The influence of uncertainty in all phases of a disaster or crisis is increasingly being recognized as an area where research is needed. Issues requiring attention range from uncertainty in technical risk assessments to uncertainty in communication, decision-making, inter-agency relationships, leadership, community relationships, ethical expectations, and expected individual or group behaviors. This brief overview highlights the multi-disciplinary nature of this field of study and the consequent need for inter-disciplinarity in both the research on the role of uncertainty and how it translates into practice. A key goal of this Special Issue will be to call for contributions from cognate disciplines. We will consider empirical research studies, theoretical papers, case studies, and other contributions that advance the understanding of uncertainty in a sustainable DRR (Disaster Risk Reduction) and recovery context. Contributions from a wide range of different academic fields including (but not limited to) natural hazards, engineering sciences, science and technology studies, ethics and philosophy, policy science, sociology, psychology, and anthropology are welcomed. The editorial process will contribute to integrating diverse perspectives to identify potential areas for future collaborative transdisciplinary research.

We seek submissions from a variety of fields and contexts, as diversity across these areas will provide important and complimentary insights into uncertainty during crises and disasters. Thus, we welcome papers that address topics including, but not limited to:

  • How uncertainty should be considered in technical risk assessment, mitigation, response, and recovery planning (including the Sendai Framework).
  • The role and management of uncertainty in sustainability frameworks (including the Sustainable Development Goals).
  • Approaches to considering and addressing uncertainty and decision-making at the individual, community, and national levels.
  • Ethical considerations around uncertainty in disaster and sustainability research and practice.
  • Indigenous perspectives of uncertainty in risk, planning, and decision-making.
  • How education and training for leadership building and decision-making can build capacity and capability for uncertainty.
  • The influence of uncertainty on relationships and communications, particularly participatory and engagement approaches; and how to manage or cope with that uncertainty.
  • Other topics that bridge between uncertainty, risk, disasters, and sustainability.

Dr. Emma Hudson-Doyle
Prof. Douglas Paton
Prof. David Johnston
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sustainability
  • Risk
  • Disasters
  • Crisis
  • Planning
  • Uncertainty
  • Information management
  • Decision-making

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Design for Societal Resilience: The Risk Evaluation Diversity-Aiding Approach (RED-A)
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5461; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135461 - 07 Jul 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The global impacts of disaster risks are on the rise. Moreover, evidence shows that the severity of damage will increase exponentially. In 2019, there were 395 natural disasters that caused 11,755 deaths. Literature and practice indicate that diversification of disaster risk management (DRM) [...] Read more.
The global impacts of disaster risks are on the rise. Moreover, evidence shows that the severity of damage will increase exponentially. In 2019, there were 395 natural disasters that caused 11,755 deaths. Literature and practice indicate that diversification of disaster risk management (DRM) approaches can make communities more resilient. One notable bottleneck in adopting diverse DRM approaches is the historical dominance of natural and technological sciences with little contribution from social sciences. Thus, a heterogeneous social-technical approach to DRM is rare and risk governance challenges are hardly understood. We conducted a systematic literature and practice review and extracted data to develop and answer five sub-questions. After that, we reviewed relevant information and selected eight risk evaluation approaches. We made comparisons and used the input to design the Risk Evaluation Diversity-aiding Approach (RED-A). The approach consists of 12 criteria and a checklist with 22 items. RED-A provides guidance to DRM researchers and practitioners when conducting socio-technical risk evaluations. It helps identify cognitive biases in the ongoing DRM process that may largely impact the quality of risk evaluation procedures. The goal of the 22-item checklist is to ensure that the 12 RED-A criteria are incorporated as much as possible to support the progressive transition towards a heterogeneous social-technical DRM approach. Finally, the RED-A criteria and checklist are applied in the Solotvyno municipality context (in Ukraine), to illustrate the use of the approach. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Information Technologies Supporting Emergency Management Controllers in New Zealand
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3716; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093716 - 04 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Emergency management controllers throughout the developed world use various information technologies to help them manage emergencies. These emergencies can evolve rapidly, meaning that efficient information management is needed to minimize a range of uncertainties. Interviews with 12 emergency operation center controllers, from diverse [...] Read more.
Emergency management controllers throughout the developed world use various information technologies to help them manage emergencies. These emergencies can evolve rapidly, meaning that efficient information management is needed to minimize a range of uncertainties. Interviews with 12 emergency operation center controllers, from diverse areas of New Zealand, were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Results of this analysis suggested that each center uses one or more software options to manage response-related information, such as: hazard assessments, task and event logs, and intelligence received in a range of formats. Their use of different software and non-electronic options appears to vary according to the experience of each emergency management controller. The current research has highlighted a range of considerations that need to be considered when developing information technologies for emergency management. As a whole, the current paper provides a rare and tangible look at how information technology is being used by important decision makers facing hard-to-predict emergency conditions in a developed country context. Full article
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
National-Scale Built-Environment Exposure to 100-Year Extreme Sea Levels and Sea-Level Rise
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1513; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041513 - 18 Feb 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
Coastal flooding from extreme sea levels will increase in frequency and magnitude as global climate change forces sea-level rise (SLR). Extreme sea-level events, rare in the recent past (i.e., once per century), are projected to occur at least once per year by 2050 [...] Read more.
Coastal flooding from extreme sea levels will increase in frequency and magnitude as global climate change forces sea-level rise (SLR). Extreme sea-level events, rare in the recent past (i.e., once per century), are projected to occur at least once per year by 2050 along many of the world’s coastlines. Information showing where and how built-environment exposure increases with SLR, enables timely adaptation before damaging thresholds are reached. This study presents a first national-scale assessment of New Zealand’s built-environment exposure to future coastal flooding. We use an analytical risk model framework, “RiskScape”, to enumerate land, buildings and infrastructure exposed to a present and future 100-year extreme sea-level flood event (ESL100). We used high-resolution topographic data to assess incremental exposure to 0.1 m SLR increases. This approach detects variable rates in the potential magnitude and timing of future flood exposure in response to SLR over decadal scales. National built-land and asset exposure to ESL100 flooding doubles with less than 1 m SLR, indicating low-lying areas are likely to experience rapid exposure increases from modest increases in SLR expected within the next few decades. This highlights an urgent need for national and regional actions to anticipate and adaptively plan to reduce future socio-economic impacts arising from flood exposure to extreme sea-levels and SLR. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Uncertainty Contagion: Revealing the Interrelated, Cascading Uncertainties of Managed Retreat
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 736; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020736 - 20 Jan 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
Managed retreat presents a dilemma for at-risk communities, and the planning practitioners and decisionmakers working to address natural hazard and climate change risks. The dilemma boils down to the countervailing imperatives of moving out of harm’s way versus retaining ties to community and [...] Read more.
Managed retreat presents a dilemma for at-risk communities, and the planning practitioners and decisionmakers working to address natural hazard and climate change risks. The dilemma boils down to the countervailing imperatives of moving out of harm’s way versus retaining ties to community and place. While there are growing calls for its use, managed retreat remains challenging in practice—across diverse settings. The approach has been tested with varied success in a number of countries, but significant uncertainties remain, such as regarding who ‘manages’ it, when and how it should occur, at whose cost, and to where? Drawing upon a case study of managed retreat in New Zealand, this research uncovers intersecting and compounding arenas of uncertainty regarding the approach, responsibilities, legality, funding, politics and logistics of managed retreat. Where uncertainty is present in one domain, it spreads into others creating a cascading series of political, personal and professional risks that impact trust in science and authority and affect people’s lives and risk exposure. In revealing these mutually dependent dimensions of uncertainty, we argue there is merit in refocusing attention away from policy deficits, barrier approaches or technical assessments as a means to provide ‘certainty’, to instead focus on the relations between forms of knowledge and coordinating interactions between the diverse arenas: scientific, governance, financial, political and socio-cultural; otherwise uncertainty can spread like a contagion, making inaction more likely. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Internet Public Opinion Risk Grading under Emergency Event Based on AHPSort II-DEMATEL
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4440; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164440 - 16 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The internet often serves as a communication platform for users to freely express opinions. However, as it supports the quick and wide spread of public opinions, it often results in great uncertainty and is very difficult to control. As a result, evaluating the [...] Read more.
The internet often serves as a communication platform for users to freely express opinions. However, as it supports the quick and wide spread of public opinions, it often results in great uncertainty and is very difficult to control. As a result, evaluating the risk levels of internet public opinion becomes very challenging. The safety of internet public opinion affects the sustainability and stability of society. In this paper, a novel conceptual model of internet public opinion governance is proposed. The model can be used to grade risk levels by combining the Analytic Hierarchy Process Sort II (AHPSort II) and Decision-Making Trial and Evaluation Laboratory (DEMATEL) under a fuzzy environment with triangular fuzzy sets. A numerical example is provided to verify the efficiency of the proposed method, and some managerial implications are also discussed. Full article
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