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Sabrina Akther Thesis Proposal

May 1 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm MDT

Title: Resilience Webtool: Engaging Community Partners to Humanize Data for Use in Local Resilience Planning in Idaho

Abstract: Advancements in technology have made hazard data increasingly available. However, officials in rural communities with limited resources often face challenges in accessing, interpreting, and applying the data to assess vulnerabilities and plan future development. Furthermore, the hazard data not being paired with relevant population and infrastructure data makes vulnerability assessments difficult. To address this challenge, this project collaborated with Valley County, Idaho, to co-create a web tool following a user-centered design approach, consolidating hazards, social vulnerability, and infrastructure data to help local officials with risk management, decision-making, and resilience planning. Recently, the team conducted a workshop in Valley County to test the beta version of this web tool (bit.ly/vc_betatool), where the tool received positive feedback from the community partners, including emergency managers, project planners, decision-makers, and health officials of the county. Even though many counties and states have these types of web tools to help with their risk management, resilience planning and decision making, they lack a proper framework regarding how to effectively engage the community partners in developing these tools. My research, as a part of this project, evaluates the community partner engagement process based on the Five-Feature Framework for Stakeholder Engagement in Natural Resource Management. I follow an exploratory qualitative research methodology where I interview the community partners using a semi structured questionnaire to understand their satisfaction with this community engaged research. I plan to look into themes & patterns to understand how to successfully engage community partners in developing user centered web tools for increasing community resilience. This study will provide insights into the processes and dynamics of effectively engaging community partners so that the research can benefit the community in terms of their risk management and help them with decision making to make their communities more resilient in the face of disasters and vulnerability.

Advisor: Brittany Brand

Committee Members: Carson MacPherson-Krutsky, Chris Birdsall