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Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions
PHILLIP R. BERKE is currently professor of land-use and environmental planning in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Dr. Berke is also senior research associate of the New Zealand International Global Change Institute, and a research fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. He previously served as associate director of the Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center at Texas A&M University. Dr. Berke’s research interests include land-use and environmental planning, state and local development management, sustainable development, and natural hazard mitigation in developed and developing communities. The central focus of his research is to develop a deeper understanding of the connections between human settlements and the natural environment. His research seeks to explore the causes of land-use decisions, how these decisions impact natural environmental systems, and the consequences of these impacts on human settlements. His ultimate goal is to seek solutions to complex urban development problems that help communities live within the limits of natural systems. His current research focuses on a comparative evaluation of the impacts of compact and low-density sprawl development patterns on watersheds in the Eastern United States. He is also studying the influence of New Zealand’s national planning mandate that requires local governments to prepare and implement environmental plans, achieve national environmental goals, and advance land-use patterns that support sustainable outcomes. A feature of this mandate that is being investigated involves how well local plans have redressed human rights violations of the indigenous people of New Zealand—the Maori. Dr. Berke received his Ph.D. in urban and regional science from Texas A&M University.
THOMAS A. BIRKLAND is an associate professor of public administration and policy, and political science at the University at Albany, State University of New York, where he also directs the Center for Policy Research. Dr. Birkland received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Washington. His research interests are concerned with the impact of disasters and crises on media and policy makers’ agendas, resulting in a reprioritizing of perceived important problems. Dr. Birkland was a 1993-1994 Earthquake Engineering Research Institute-Federal Emergency Management Agency (EERI-FEMA) fellow, as well as a faculty fellow in social science research applied to hazards and disasters (the first “Enabling Project”). He has written several articles about natural hazards policy and politics. Most recently, Dr. Birkland was a plenary speaker and moderator at the 9/11 Summit on emergency planning and management for the judiciary and is currently a member of the EERI Social Science/Learning from Earthquakes committee.