Lindell tells congressmen about social
scientists’ role in earthquake program


While preparing legislation reauthorizing a federal earthquake hazard reduction program, several members of the U.S. House of Representatives learned about social scientists’ contributions to the program from Michael Lindell, professor of urban planning at Texas A&M, during a June 11 hearing in Washington, D.C.

“What social scientists can learn from mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery associated with seemingly dissimilar hazards — such as hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes — can be effectively applied to reducing community vulnerability to earthquakes,” said Lindell at the hearing, convened to gather information concerning the renewal of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP).

He testified about the degree to which social science has been integrated into the activities of the program as well as opportunities to coordinate hazards research and development among federal agencies.

He told members of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Science and Technology’s Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation that through research, social scientists:

  • better understand of the psychological, social, economic, and political causes of community hazard vulnerability,
  • Test of possible ways to increase hazard resilience, and
  • Seek opportunities to work with emergency managers, architects, engineers, planners, and public administrators to disseminate administrative and technological innovations that increase community hazard resilience.

Congress established NEHRP in 1977 with the aim of reducing the risks of life and property from future earthquakes in the United States through the establishment and maintenance of an effective earthquake hazards reduction program.

Lindell, a faculty fellow at Texas A&M’s Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center, holds a doctorate degree in social and quantitative psychology from the University of Colorado. His research focuses on environmental hazards, emergency management and research methods.


- Posted: June 30, 2009 -

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