Estimating Disaster Resilience
The Social Vulnerability Index of the United States (SoVI)

Susan L. Cutter, PhD
Carolina Distinguished Professor of Geography
Director, Hazards & Vulnerability Research Institute
University of South Carolina

June 13, 2007

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Slides: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Related Websites:

Social Vulnerability Index Home Page
Hazards & Vulnerability Research Institute
Hazards Research Lab
"The Geography of Social Vulnerability: Race, Class, and Catastrophe"
Hazards, Vulnerability and Environmental Justice

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Dr. Susan Cutter is a Carolina Distinguished Professor of Geography at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Cutter is the Director of the University’s Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute. She received her B.A. from California State University, Hayward and her M.A. and Ph.D. (1976) from the University of Chicago. Her primary research interests are in the area of vulnerability science—what makes people and the places where they live vulnerable to extreme events and how this vulnerability is measured, monitored, and assessed. She has authored or edited twelve books, more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.

Dr. Cutter has also led post-event field studies of the role of geographic information technologies in rescue and relief operations in (September 11th World Trade Center attack) and studies of evacuation behavior from Three Mile Island (1979), Hurricane Floyd (1999), and the Graniteville, SC train derailment and chlorine spill (2005). Most recently (2006) she has led a Hurricane Katrina post-event field team to examine the geographic extent of storm surge inundation along the Mississippi and Alabama coastline and its relationship to the social vulnerability of communities. She has provided expert testimony to Congress on hazards and vulnerability and was a member of the US Army Corps of Engineers IPET team evaluating the social impacts of the New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana Hurricane Protection System in response to Hurricane Katrina.

Dr. Cutter serves on many national advisory boards and committees including those of National Research Council, the AAAS, the National Science Foundation, the Natural Hazards Center, and the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment. She is also a co-principal investigator and member of the Executive Committee of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START)(a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence focused on the social and behavioral sciences).

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