GSPIA Professor Louise Comfort Writes Book on Resilience

Issue Date: 
January 24, 2011

ResilienceLouise K. Comfort, a professor and director of the Center for Disaster Management in Pitt’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), is coauthor of the recently published book Designing Resilience (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010).

Coedited by Arjen Boin, adjunct professor in the Public Administration Institute of Louisiana State University, and Chris C. Demchak, associate professor in the School of Public Administration and Policy at the University of Arizona, Tucson, Designing Resilience presents case studies of extreme events. The authors analyze the affected citizens and systems management of such large-scale disasters as Hurricane Katrina in the United States and the 2005 London subway bombings in the United Kingdom.

The book outlines elements critical to effective disaster management: quality of response, capacity to improvise, proper coordination, and survival skills, among others. Its examples provide guidance to other nations and states in assessing their own disaster-management systems and what needs to be changed to achieve resilience.

Comfort has written extensively on disaster response management, including “Asymmetric Information Processes in Extreme Events:  The 26 December 2004 Sumatran Earthquake and Tsunami” in Communicable Crises: Prevention, Response and Recovery in the Global Arena (Information Age Publishing, 2007) and “Communication, Coherence, and Collective Action: The Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Communications Infrastructure” in Public Works Management and Policy (Sage, 2006).

Renowned for her expertise in emergency management and response, Comfort is also recognized as an authority in organizational theory, innovation and behavior, and information technology policy and management.

—Amanda Leff Ritchie