Identifier

etd-11092011-161836

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Environmental Sciences

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

The Gulf of Mexico Region is a region where coastal hazards are frequently occurring. To study the resilience of the counties along the Gulf of Mexico is of great importance to its sustainable planning and development. It also plays a huge role in coastal hazard mitigation. This study assesses the temporal changes of coastal community resilience of 132 counties along the Gulf of Mexico. The basic analytical framework to assess resilience consists of three dimensions (exposure, damage, and recovery) and two relationships (vulnerability and adaptability). Vulnerability refers to the relationship between exposure and damage, whereas the relationship between damage and recovery is termed adaptability in this study. Two important concepts were advanced in this study, which are assessing community resilience by the community’s behavior before and after disturbances, and validating the results through statistical techniques. Four socioeconomic resilient systems were derived according to their behaviors before and after natural coastal hazards: susceptible, recovering, resistant, and usurper. Seven different grouping tests using k-means cluster analysis were run on the 132 counties. 28 variables from the resilience and vulnerability literature and the human development literature were examined and explored to serve as input to discriminant analysis. Factor analysis was used to find the most important variables that affected the resilience capacity. The results show that when using population growth as a recovery indicator, the classification gains the best discriminant scores (84.8% accuracy for 2000’s data, and 81.8% for the 1990’s data) using the 28 variables. In general, community resilience did not change much from 1990 to 2000. A total of nine counties changed their resilience capacity during the decade. Of those, four were found to have an increase in resilience, while the remaining five had a decrease in resilience.

Date

2011

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Lam, Nina

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