Vulnerability and Resilience in Threatened Coastal Louisiana Communities

Project Goals:

This study examines the hypothesis that a large part of individual and community resilience results from strong but dispersed spatial networks that link people socially and economically across the broader region. This is important because the efficacy of local support resources are compromised due to the community-wide impacts of environmental threats. Communities lacking external connections lack resilience, or the support structure to recover effectively after an event.

Project Team:
    • Mathew Lee Professor of Sociology + Vice Provost for Academic Programs + Support Services
    • Jeff Carney Former Director, Coastal Sustainability Studio
    • Troy Blanchard Associate Professor of Sociology
    • Tim Slack Associate Professor of Sociology
    • Forbes Lipschitz Professor of Landscape Architecture
    • Kirby Goidel
    • Michael Cope
    • Lydia Gikas
    • Louisiana Sea Grant

In recent years, coastal Louisiana has been struck by multiple hurricanes, hit hard by the worst oil spill in American history, and currently faces a range of extremely serious but slower moving threats such as coastal erosion, sea level rise, saltwater intrusion, fisheries depletion, and environmental pollution. It is therefore a place where people think about preparedness because they regularly face very real threats to their lives and livelihoods.

Direct + Broader Impacts:
The project represents a multidisciplinary partnership between sociology, design, and public policy. A visual exploration of data was developed through a survey of roughly 1,000 respondents from Lafourche and Plaquemines Parish. The series of maps and statistical documentation from surveys were disseminated by Louisiana Sea Grant agents to local planning and policy organizations.