Behavioural Response and Recovery Indicators

This research strand identifies characteristics and processes that enhance and facilitate a faster recovery back to the level of day-to-day household and community stability prior to a natural hazard event.

The studies we are working on in this area include:

Population displacement and temporary accommodation needs in Canterbury

This project will examine the factors that facilitate natural accommodation resilience such as billeting with friends and family. We will study the difficulties experienced by people who were living with friends, family and possibly strangers, as well as the experiences of their hosts. Any possible issues that could be alleviated in a coordinated billeting process will be identified and recommendations made for the development of a best practice guide for temporary accommodation through billeting after a disaster.

Key research questions:

  1. How do people end up billeting with friends and family and how can this be facilitated?
  2. What is the appropriate level of time that billets and hosts can remain in this situation?
  3. What issues are faced by those in this situation and how can these be addressed?
  4. How can these accommodation situations help to assist the social recovery of billets and hosts e.g. return to work, return to social activities?

Methods:

A survey of both hosts and billets to explore their experiences.

Project Team:

  • Dr Jared Thomas, Theme Leader
  • Dr Joel Burton
  • Kate Mora
  • Grace Rive
Population Displacement 1 Population Displacement 2

Tsunami evacuation planning

This research seeks to examine individual and collective public response to official warnings up to 12 hours prior to a large-scale damage-causing tsunami in order to develop an evidence-based understanding of individual decision-making (both effective and counter-productive) that contributes to a collective public response to serious official Tsunami warnings, and the psychological barriers that operate to distort perceptions of hazard risks. The findings of this study will help to inform and improve Civil Defence and Emergency Management tsunami response plans.

Key research questions:

  1. Does an individual's naïve physical theory of oceanography (false knowledge) or inexperience with hazard events (limited knowledge) act or interact to interfere with effective individual responses to an official warning?
  2. Does ineffective evacuation behaviour align with false knowledge, inexperience, mixed motives, trust in authority and individual demographics?
  3. How can individual and collective public response can be improved by aligning education and emergency management procedures to manage those aspects of a normal response that are otherwise ineffective (i.e. through an organised phased evacuation)?

Methods:

We will model public responses to distant and local source tsunami threats using Computer-Aided Personal Interview (CAPI) techniques to present scenarios.

Project Team:

  • Dr Jared Thomas, Theme Leader
  • Dr Joel Burton
Tsunami Evacuation 1 Tsunami Evacuation 2

Natural leadership performance indicators

Insight into the way key individuals in positions of leadership cope with stress in times of uncertainty is crucial to ensuring the right people are in the correct role in an emergency event. Previous overseas work has identified and critiqued the effectiveness of different leadership styles in emergency situations (e.g. Lalonde, 2004; Olejarski and Garnett, 2010). In addition to the public's reaction to disaster threats, this study will also examine natural leadership in disaster events by developing methods that can be used to assess characteristics related to success in how people cope with stress and uncertainty at both an emergency management office and community level. Findings from this study will inform a best practice guide for the recruitment and training of Civil Defence and Emergency Management volunteers or staff members.

Project Team:

  • Dr Jared Thomas, Theme Leader
  • Grace Rive
Nautral Leadership

Non-invasive indicators of recovery

During the immediate response phase after a disaster event, decision-makers need urgent insight into the impacts of the disaster on affected communities so that support and policy attention are directed to those communities in most need. In order to assist decision-making in this vital period, researchers need to provide helpful information in a timely, inexpensive, and non-invasive manner. We have conducted unobtrusive indicator research with regard to:

  1. pedestrian footfall as an indicator of business area vulnerability; and,
  2. post-earthquake migration within the Canterbury region using remote datasets.

The first study involved the manual counting of pedestrians on four occasions at 11 sites throughout the CBD of Christchurch following the earthquake of 4 September 2010. An automatic counting sensor was also installed at one of the sites. The pedestrian numbers recorded were compared with baseline data from 2008 and electronic payment data for stores in the vicinity of the counting sites. Chi-square analysis of the manual counts to identify significant increases and decreases in pedestrian numbers at each site confirmed observations made at the time the manual counts were undertaken that footpath closures and cordons decreased foot traffic in the vicinity of each site. Strong correlations between the number of pedestrians counted and the number of electronic payment transactions within a 50 metre radius of each counting site verified that changes in pedestrian numbers are an accurate reflection of changes in business activity.

Local authorities need a clear and timely directive to stimulate further investigation and potential intervention. The post-earthquake manual count data was used to generate percentage changes in pedestrian numbers month-on-month. From the data collected and local knowledge about the sites, a percentage decline of 20 percent or more at a site between the manual monthly counts was found to be a reasonable indication that an area requires further investigation. Potential interventions to reduce the decline in pedestrian numbers in the vicinity should then be explored and appropriate actions taken as soon as possible.

The second study utilised data collected by the postal service provider, New Zealand Post (NZ Post) when people register their change of address. Following the September 2010 earthquake, this database was purchased and analysed to provide an indication of household migration within the Canterbury region. In addition, data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) on the number of house sales per month (which is publicly available on the Internet) was accessed for the same period to enable comparisons with house sales. This analysis was to achieved two aims: (1) in the short term, to provide prompt migration information for recovery managers, and (2) in the longer term, to explore changes in migration patterns over time as an indicator of recovery.

The primary limitation of the dataset was that not every person that changes address notifies NZ Post, and of the estimated 65% of people that do, not all allow their details to be made available to others. In response to the more severe earthquake in February 2011, NZ Post made all of the records available to the government as this data was requested by recovery managers and policy-makers to inform migration estimates from and within Christchurch City for the purposes of resource allocation. The uptake of this research technique following the second earthquake is testament to its usefulness as a remote and non-invasive means of determining patterns of internal migration following a disaster event.

Project Team:

Behavioural Scientists:

  • Dr Jared Thomas, Theme Leader
  • Kate Mora
  • Grace Rive

Urban Scientists:

  • Dr Felicity Powell
  • Dr Abigail Harding
Non-invasive Indicators 1 Non-invasive Indicators 2

Evaluation of social media monitoring platforms

Many organisations are beginning to appreciate the potential of utilising social media technologies within their business communication and research practices. Social media monitoring helps brands and organisations understand their overall online visibility, discover consumer insights, identify opportunities for public engagement, measure competitor activity and share of voice in the market, as well as function as an alert service for any culminating negative feedback or an impending crisis. However, finding the right tools by which to start listening online can quickly become a daunting and time-consuming experience for any organisation. By example, there are numerous social media monitoring platforms available, and each platform offers a different formulation of monitoring value and expertise such as the methodology for data input, sentiment analysis or trends, historical data, alerts and costing structure.

The purpose of this research is to review and evaluate the social media monitoring platforms available to assist organisations in choosing the most appropriate platform.

Project Team:

  • Dr Jared Thomas, Theme Leader
  • Abi Beatson
Social Media

Social media, information flows and crisis mapping

This doctoral study by Abi Beatson (Victoria University) is investigating information sharing practices in relation to the Christchurch earthquakes.

Project Team:

  • Abi Beatson

The effects of symbolic infrastructure development on community recovery

This masters-level study by Nicola Hancock (Canterbury University) is examining the role that symbolic infrastructure (e.g. historic sites, churches, or even sports grounds) has in conveying confidence to the community that significant progress in recovery is being achieved.

Project Team:

  • Dr Jared Thomas, Theme Leader
  • Nicola Hancock
Symbols of Recovery
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