STUDENT RESEARCH AND CLASS PROJECTS
Hazard Mitigation Planning
Students in Hazard Mitigation Planning, a course at Western Washington University's Huxley College of the Environment, explore mitigation planning across the United States. As part of their final project, groups created websites describing the Disaster Mitigation Act 2000 hazard mitigation planning process, how it is implemented in various states, and offering a critique of these states' plan:
South Carolina http://www.wix.com/reiderm/southcarolinahazardmit#!
In 2010, students in Disaster Risk Reduction Planning studio, a course taught at Western Washington University's Huxley College of the Environment, explored strategies for improving disaster preparedness and community-based disaster recovery in Haiti. The following are short descriptions and links to their final projects:
1. Rural Community-Based Risk Management: Strengthening Haiti’s Resilience
Travis Mabee, Hope Rietzen, and Sam Tilley
Travis Mabee, Hope Rietzen, and Sam Tilley produced an informational booklet that can decrease Haiti’s future risk to natural hazards. For their course project, this group created a booklet with strategies for rural risk mapping and risk management. This booklet, entitled [Rural Community-Based Risk Management: Strengthening Haiti’s Resilience], may be useful in work dedicated to sustainable development and building resilience in communities to combat vulnerability.
This project seeks to provide simple ways to decrease vulnerability to natural hazards and increase resilience by promoting community mobilization and participation, identifying early indicators of natural hazards, and providing simple instructions for hazard monitoring systems. This group created an informational booklet that is divided into two sections. The informational booklet is intended to be distributed by local NGOs who are working with rural communities.
2. Agricultural and Ecological Recovery in Haiti
Amanda Edwards, Rosalie Germond, and Sheena Sokolowski
Amanda Edwards, Rosalie Germond, and Sheena Sokolowski intended to conduct a research project that will be beneficial to Haitians livelihoods and aid in the recovery efforts occurring as a result of the January 12, 2010 earthquake. Focusing on agricultural and ecological recovery in Haiti, this group conducted research on different plants suitable for growth in Haiti. The result of their research is a table highlighting aspects of cultivation and uses, as well as a detailed technical document describing each plant.
The plant table was developed to provide a visual document that NGOs could quickly reference while working in Haiti and use as an informational guide. Each plant in the table was chosen primarily for its resilience to the current soil and climate conditions in Haiti and its ability to provide food and building materials. Additionally, some of the plants can also be used as charcoal, which is a necessity to most Haitians. These crops are intended to provide a small farmer a more suitable range of crops for an income and food source.
3. Disaster Preparedness Adult Education
Anthony Vendetti, Mallory Abston, Cameron McDonald, and Jeff Underwood
Mallory Abston, Cameron McDonald, Jeff Underwood, and Anthony Vendetti’s final deliverable was usable disaster preparedness presentations for the Haitian community. Specifically, this project focused on creating adult education presentations on hazard awareness to improve individual and community resilience and to reduce vulnerability. This group’s intention was centered on making a tangible difference in the lives of Haitian people.
The presentations were created in PowerPoint and are meant to be very visual with substantial speaker notes to guide the presenter. The content of the presentations could also be taught using just the speaker notes and a chalkboard. The presentations are designed to take about an hour and a half each. Each presentation includes activities and videos, and encourages discussion. They are designed to facilitate an active learning process, where the students are involved in their learning.
Promoting Preparedness against Hazard Events through Primary Education in Haiti
Craig Duncan and Megan Frazier
Craig Duncan and Megan Frazier focused on teaching disaster prevention and emergency preparedness in primary schools. They created a manual of classroom activities focused on the areas of preparedness, response, and mitigation with regards to three of Haiti’s major hazard events: hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires.
To increase the success of implementation in Haitian classrooms, this group adapted pre-existing lessons developed in other countries as well as devised some of our own creations. All of their activities are adapted for a context of minimal classroom resources and potentially poor literacy rates among students. This manual is organized into four sections: hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, and one culminating section of activities that spans across all hazards. This final section includes first aid, preparedness plans and a trivia game that reviews key learning points from all previous activities.
Rain and Wastewater Management
Greg Crenshaw, Corey Holloran, and Dan Murphy
Greg Crenshaw, Corey Holloran, and Dan Murphy created an informational booklet with applicable strategies to alleviate some of the stress associated with access to safe drinking water and flood control in Haiti. The goal is to provide a base of knowledge that can be adapted to, and built upon throughout Haiti’s redevelopment. In researching water management issues, their intent was to provide those working in Haiti with innovative techniques that will improve community resilience and quality of life.
The booklets overall objective is to reduce some of the main issues associated with water in Haiti, such as water borne illness, access to drinking water, and flooding. The booklet is divided into three sections. The section on rainwater harvesting focuses on the collection, storage, and filtration of water. The section on excrement management provides alternative methods of the disposal of human waste and production of soil conditioners. The last section on Soil Management discusses alternative farming methods for improved soil protection and decreased erosion. Each section has several techniques appropriate to a range of economic levels. Each technique is applicable within the bigger pictures of improving sanitation infrastructure and better agricultural practices.
Principles of Resilient Housing: Shelter in Haiti
Forrest Newell, Ian Sanderson, and Levi Wyatt
Forrest Newell, Ian Sanderson, and Levi Wyatt created poster that illustrates five basic principles of building a disaster resistant house: symmetry of design, solid foundation, reinforced walls, earthquake beam, and strong roof. Its format is graphically intensive to ensure that illiterate Haitians can understand its meaning. Textual details are also included as a way to increase the level of usefulness and comprehension for literate home builders.
This poster is intended for display in public places, where people who are interested in building houses will see it. The principles illustrated in this product may help to save lives in future natural hazard events.
The Sustainable Design Studio also worked on developing design solutions for temporary and transitional housing and settlement plans following the Haitian earthquake. To view their Haitian Housing Relief book, click here.