PhD in Urban and Public Affairs

Urban and Public Affairs Specialization (2009– Nov 2013 Expected)

University of Louisville, School of Urban and Public Affairs

Dissertation title: Disaster and Poverty: The Differential Impacts of Disaster on the Poor in the Gulf Coast Region.

CGPA: 3.91/4.00


Low-income and vulnerable populations that suffer most in natural disasters are females, children, elderly, disabled, and ethnic minorities This dissertation explores the association between natural disaster and poverty conditions among socially disadvantaged subgroups within the social, economic, and political contexts of the disaster affected regions in the Gulf Coast States. It argues that poverty conditions increase the negative impacts of disaster for socially vulnerable populations. This dissertation advocates incorporating the vulnerabilities of the marginalized population in each phase of disaster management planning, from mitigation to recovery.

The study uses correlation and regression analyses to find the association between disaster impacts and different poverty conditions. The study of 534 counties of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas reveals that people living in poverty have a significant positive association with disaster fatalities and property damage, which demonstrates that natural disasters are likely to increase poverty. Moreover, the counties with more socially disadvantaged groups are more vulnerable to disaster. In conclusion, the author proposes that integration of vulnerabilities of socially disadvantaged groups into disaster mitigation policies can fundamentally reduce the loss of human life and economic loss of a society from natural disaster.

Dissertation Committee:  David M. Simpson, PhD (Chair); Hank V. Savitch, PhD; John Hans I. Gilderbloom, PhD; Cynthia Negrey, PhD; and Melissa Merry, PhD. 

Selected Courses:

  • Urban Policy and Governance (UPA 602)
  • Urban Economics (UPA 603)
  • Research Methods (UPA 606)
  • Historic Preservation (PLAN 625)
  • Urban Theory and Public Affairs (UPA 610)
  • Land Use Planning (UPA 683)
  • Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation (UPA 621)
  • Seminar in Statistics II (SOC 610)
  • Comparative Urban Development (UPA 623)
  • Planning Theory (UPA 684)
  • Strategic Management and Planning (PLAN 610)
  • Environmental Policy (UPA 679)