Disaster and Resiliency: Daniel Aldrich’s (@DanielPAldrich) Black Wave

Daniel brought his book to my attention via Twitter and then sent me a copy to look at. I never recommend books without at least skimming them, so I took some time and have begun reading, and I’ve got to say, this is an impressive book, particularly for somebody so early in his career. With this one, he’s setting the bar high early.

Daniel’s research here examines the role of social networks in disaster response during the Japan’s earthquake and tsunami cycle in 2011. He points out that even though Japan got the worst of both, they had a 96 percent survival rate compared to China, which tends to fare far worse in the face of disasters.

The book is topical for me because virtually all of my evacuation research demonstrated that social networks were key to enabling disaster response among those with low incomes, especially for women who had recently arrived in Chicago and spoke little to no English.

In Aldrich’s cases, he demonstrates that both individuals and places with stronger social networks fared better during the emergency and recovered more quickly.

He also examines the central and community planning efforts. I’m hoping he follows up on his research there because I think there are more questions to answer about the variety of responses to central government mandates that he finds here, some of which is likely to influence both local planning and implementation capacity.