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Northeastern Invests In Resilience Research

Through a competitive review process, the Global Resilience Institute has awarded seed-funding to teams of Northeastern faculty, for resilience-related research collaborations. This funding supports innovative, collaborative cross-college research proposals.

Northeastern Collaborative on Resilient Energy (N-CORE)

Northeastern Collaborative on Resilient Energy (N-CORE)

The goal of the Northeastern Collaborative on Resilient Energy (N-CORE) is to facilitate new collaborative energy-related research across campus and catalyze the impact of university innovations. Despite a strong track-record of extensive research capacity in energy system resilience at Northeastern, mechanisms to connect, communicate, and coordinate energy related research and education among different departments and schools, and outside institutions, have been minimal. Establishing N-CORE will provide a campus-wide structure to facilitate collaborations and strengthen productive and impactful relationships among energy resilience researchers. This initial initiative involves co-PIs from five colleges, but the structure is inclusive and open with a goal of expanding the network of energy researchers so we expect the group to grow over time. Given the diversity of energy research expertise at Northeastern, seed funding is requested to support a series of events, meetings, and activities to catalyze a sustainable community of researchers to share ideas that will lead to the development of large, new collaborations and novel transdisciplinary research proposals. N-CORE will also actively explore the potential for establishing an externally funded Northeastern Energy Institute. N-CORE will also work to support interdisciplinary educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students that focus on energy.

Women and resilience in moments of social crisis: A feminist perspective

Women and resilience in moments of social crisis: A feminist perspective

This project explores networks of women strengthening community resilience as they respond to a diversity of different kinds of social crises. Through an interdisciplinary cross-scalar collaboration, the research team will focus on understanding the how women’s networks respond to disruptions. This pilot project will focus on the following 5 case studies: Mothers Out Front – An advocacy organization founded in 2013 to promote clean energy and advocate for local, state, and federal policies to address climate change. Moms Demand Action - A group founded in 2012, in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, to reduce gun violence and advocate for stricter gun control laws. Mothers Against Drunk Driving – An organization, founded in 1980 by a mother whose teenaged daughter was killed by a drunk driver, that has been extraordinarily successful in its mission to implement federal and state policies to eliminate drunk driving. Mothers of the Movement – A group of women whose African-American children have been killed by police or extrajudicial gun violence. Several members, including the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Sandra Bland have made appearances at key political and cultural events to speak out about violence against Black Americans. Women’s Movement – A grass-roots response to the election of and inauguration of Donald Trump, dedicated to advancing intersectional women’s political issues.

Resilience media: Reporting on coastal cities and climate change

Resilience media: Reporting on coastal cities and climate change

In this project, we examine the dynamics of news media ecosystems on coastal cities as they relate to climate change and resilience. We analyze how news organizations are reporting on the threats posed by climate change to coastal cities, assessing national outlets like the New York Times, National Public Radio, the Guardian, and Washington Post; major urban outlets such as the Houston Chronicle, Vancouver Sun, Miami Herald, and Boston Globe; and specialized outlets such as ProPublica, the Texas Tribune, and Climate Central. We demonstrate why high quality public affairs journalism is essential to collective decisions about coastal resilience, identifying best practices and weaknesses in coverage. To do so, we synthesize available scholarship, assess patterns in coverage, and conduct interviews with journalists and experts. In partnership with the Boston Area Research Initiative (BARI), we develop models for more data-driven, forward-thinking news coverage, and we explore uses of open data in public communication. We also interview philanthropists who are investing in new models of non-profit journalism such as ClimateCentral. Our research will result in a report released jointly by the Global Resilience Institute and Harvard’s Shorenstein Center; a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Communication; and other studies and commentaries. We will define an agenda for externally funded research and position GRI to become a national leader at the intersection of media, communications and resilience, laying the groundwork for a potential Resilience Media Lab

Interrogating resilience: An analysis of inequality and vulnerability in pre-Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico

Interrogating resilience: An analysis of inequality and vulnerability in pre-Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico

Disasters reveal the vulnerability, inequality, and power embedded within the fabric of any society. Hurricane Maria exposed Puerto Rico’s inherent vulnerability to climate change as an island territory. The widespread power outages in the wake of the storm also revealed deep inequalities with respect to the distribution of resources around the territory. Moreover, the hurricane uncovered ways in which Puerto Rico’s unique positionality as a colonial territory of the United States creates barriers to a rapid recovery. In the face of disasters such as Hurricane Maria, a resilience discourse inevitably emerges as a critique of pre-disaster preparation. Resilience narratives inform both ex ante approaches to policymaking in advance of extreme events and ex post facto recovery efforts. Proponents often argue that policymakers must increase community or energy system resilience without questioning the normative nature of resilience. The project asks whether a reliance on existing conceptions of resilience unwittingly creates blind spots that exacerbate vulnerability, harden unequal social structures, and perpetuate power imbalances. By interrogating resilience in the context of pre-Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico, this research fills important gaps in both the energy justice and climate adaptation literatures, where pre-existing vulnerability, inequality, and power are not adequately addressed.

Maximizing resilience for people living with physical disability

Maximizing resilience for people living with physical disability

Stroke is the leading cause of disability. The fastest rising stroke population is younger individuals, <55 years-old, who are still in the “prime” of their lives, contributing to the global workforce, and serving as family providers. Little is known about the post-stroke needs of younger individuals, who, unlike older individuals, must continue to serve as caregivers despite their own disability. Long-term disability resulting from young onset stroke therefore represents a global challenge, with little information to support the development and implementation of comprehensive resilient solutions. We are requesting seed funding to measure and model the key physical, cognitive, and affective factors that impact functional capacity of younger and older individuals with stroke in a home-based setting. We will utilize the NU Home Laboratory, specially designed for behavioral monitoring in a realistic home environment, to gain insights about functional capacity that cannot be revealed in a traditional laboratory setting. This multifactorial assessment of the specific impairment characteristics that most strongly influence function status requires an interdisciplinary team with skills in movement and cognitive analysis, remote sensing, and predictive modeling. This project represents a first step toward creating resilience to the burden of young onset stroke on individuals, families, communities and society.

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