Identifying, Weighting and Causality Modeling of Social and Economic Barriers to Rapid Infrastructure Recovery from Natural Disasters: A Study of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

Project Details
Author(s) Sharareh Kermanshachi, University of Texas at Arlington
Co-Author(s) Kelly Bergstrand, University of Texas at Arlington
CTEDD Funding Year 2018 SEED Grant
Project Status Complete
UTC Funding $29,987.91
End Date January 31, 2019


This study addresses the question of how the PDRBs affect the timeliness of the recovery process of affected communities. This research will add to body of knowledge about post-disaster recovery by addressing gaps in the existing literature on integrated analysis of PDRBs. To address the mentioned gap in the literature, this study articulated the following three research objectives: 1 identify and categorize the PDRBs, 2 determine the impact weight of each of the identified PDRBs and prepare a prioritized list of PDRBs that hinder proactive disaster mitigation, and 3 develop a causality model, determining the relationships and interdependencies of exogenous and endogenous PDRBs.

Problem Statement

Catastrophic natural disasters often cause major losses of resources in a community. Although it is important to allocate adequate resources in a timely manner to alleviate the consequences of post-disaster recovery barriers, all nations, including the U.S., have limited means. One challenge to achieving timely recovery is that the recovery environment is a dynamic atmosphere, which hardly follows a certain defined path, and the process is not systematically uniform across all sectors of society. Therefore, rapid restoration of disaster-affected areas has been an important challenge for the decision makers, and more investigation needs to be done on identifying post-disaster recovery


The findings of this research are as following:
1. Eighty-five 85 statistically significant post-disaster recovery barriers were identified and categorized. The five categories included economic, social, environmental, infrastructure and transportation, and policy.
2. The significant post-disaster recovery barriers of the policy category were sub-categorized and qualitatively analyzed. The seven sub-categories included coordination, construction and infrastructure, location, social and community participation, resources and documentation, finance and economic, and approach and attitude.
3. The significant post-disaster recovery barriers were weighted and ranked. A community that looks out for each other and Lack of long-term recovery funding programs were recognized as the most influential barriers.
4. A conceptual model was developed, demonstrating the causality interconnectivity of the identified post-disaster recovery barriers.



The research team believes that, the outcomes of the current research will assist policy-makers and officials with appropriate restoration planning to minimize the duration of post-disaster activities.

Downloadable Documents

Subjects#: Asset Management, Disaster Recovery, Governance, Infrastructure, Policy, Quantitative Analysis