Providing insights into overcoming disaster
The Boston Globe - 08/31/2015
But the storm, which killed 1,800 and caused $108 billion in damage, also set Aldrich’s own work on a new course. Back in Boston, he found himself fascinated by disaster recovery and what it meant. He had finished his previous work on nuclear power in Japan and now focused on new questions: What creates resilience? Which factors determined whether a post-crisis community would bounce back?
He is now a leader in a new wave of scholars drawing surprising new insights into what helps cities and communities survive disaster, and was just named co-director of Northeastern University’s Masters in Security and Resilience Studies program.
“What I found was that the strength and cohesion of a community before the disaster was one of the best predictors for recovery after,” says Aldrich, a slender man who wears a yarmulke and talks rapid-fire about his research. It was social capital — not money poured into infrastructure — that most quickly led to recovery, no matter how poor the community.