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SMART Seminar Series

March 26, 2019 @ 10:30 am - 11:30 am


Presenter – Dr Robert Ogie


Dr Robert Ogie brings an Engineering and Information Systems background to the multidisciplinary field of disaster informatics, where his interest is to deliver innovative means by which information and emerging technologies can be used to improve decision making during the prevention, preparation, response and recovery phases of disaster management. He is particularly interested in applying empirical methods (both qualitative and quantitative) to understand the social-technical complexities that characterise the use of these systems for disaster response.

His motivation in research is driven by a working research question: how can we better design systems and harness existing resources to enhance decision making and improve the resilience of people, infrastructure and businesses to both man-made and natural hazards?

Natural hazards and social vulnerability of place: the strength-based approach


Natural hazards pose significant threats to different communities and various places around the world. Failing to identify and support the most vulnerable communities is a recipe for disaster. In this regard, the concept of social vulnerability has emerged as a widely recognised way of assessing both the sensitivity of a population to natural hazards and its ability to respond and recover from them.

In the traditional approach to computing social vulnerability, the emphasis is mainly on the weaknesses only (e.g., old age, low income, language barriers, etc.), thereby undermining the resourcefulness of people within communities to self-organise and minimise their vulnerability to natural hazards.

This seminar will explore a more balanced approach referred to as the strength-based social vulnerability index (SSVI). The proposed SSVI technique, which is built on sound socio-psychological theories of how people act during disasters and emergency events, will be applied to highlight the most vulnerable suburbs amongst the 108 suburbs in the Greater Wollongong area of New South Wales, Australia.

This seminar will also convey results from method comparison involving the SSVI technique vs the traditional approach. Importantly, the speaker will present empirical evidence on how social vulnerability has changed over space and through time (2006 2016) within New South Wales, Australia. Lastly, the implications of the results for emergency and disaster management will be discussed, including direction for future work.


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March 26, 2019
10:30 am - 11:30 am
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SMART Infrastructure Facility


Building 6 Room 209
University of Wollongong
Wollongong, 2500 AU
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