Nejat, Ali (2011-08). Modeling Dynamics of Post Disaster Recovery. Doctoral Dissertation.
Natural disasters result in loss of lives, damage to built facilities, and interruption of businesses. The losses are not instantaneous rather they continue to occur until the community is restored to a functional socio-economic entity. Hence, it is essential that policy makers recognize this dynamic aspect of the incurring losses and make realistic plans to enhance the recovery. However, this cannot take place without understanding how homeowners react to recovery signals. These signals can come in different ways: from policy makers showing their strong commitment to restore the community by providing financial support and/or restoration of lifeline infrastructure; or from the neighbors showing their willingness to reconstruct. The goal of this research is to develop a model that can account for homeowners' dynamic interactions in both organizational and spatial domains. Spatial domain of interactions focuses on how homeowners process signals from the environment such as neighbors reconstructing and local agencies restoring infrastructure, while organizational domain of interactions focuses on how agents process signals from other stakeholders that do not directly affect the environment like insurers. The hypothesis of this study is that these interactions significantly influence decisions to reconstruct and stay, or sell and leave. A multi-agent framework is used to capture emergent behavior such as spatial patterns and formation of clusters. The developed framework is illustrated and validated using experimental data sets.