New Zealand communities will be better prepared for natural hazards such as earthquakes, floods and other climate change issues, thanks to a partnership with a top United States disaster research centre.
Massey University has signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of North Carolina (UNC) allowing it’s Wellington-based Joint Centre for Disaster Research to work with UNC’s Centre for the Study of Natural Hazards and Disasters. Joint research, teaching, lesson sharing and scholarly exchange will take place.
Associate Professor Bruce Glavovic, newly appointed Associate Director of Massey’s disaster research centre, says the partnership will enable New Zealand to learn from American hazard preparation and recovery experiences, including large-scale housing relocation and elevation projects following Hurricanes Fran and Floyd, and more recently Katrina.
Future research collaboration is likely to include comparisons of disaster risk reduction and hazard mitigation planning measures used in the US and New Zealand, seeking a deeper understanding of the relationship between community resilience and hazard risk in this era of climate change, says Dr Glavovic.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ranks fifth among the nation’s best public universities for the eighth consecutive year, according to US News & World Report magazine.
Associate Professor David Johnston, director of the Massey centre, has just been appointed to the new international Scientific Committee of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk Programme. He is the first New Zealander to be appointed to the committee, which met for the first in Norway recently.
The centre, which opened in December 2006 at Massey’s School of Psychology as a joint venture between the University and GNS Science (Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences) – a Government-owned research organisation – undertakes multidisciplinary applied teaching and research on the social dimensions of how disasters affect communities.
Dr Glavovic, the Earthquake Commission Fellow in Natural Hazards Planning, is based at Massey’s School of People, Planning and Environment in Palmerston North.