Current Research

CDM’s research focuses on practical frameworks for understanding risk and rapid decision-making in dynamic and often uncertain conditions. Our current research projects include:

Improved Tsunami Warning and Decision-Support in Padang, Indonesia
Recent natural disasters in Indonesia underscore the gravity of such threats to coastal communities. We are focused on the increasing risk of near-field tsunamis in coastal communities in Indonesia and the process of how communities build resilience to these hazards. We seek to understand what types of sociotechnical, interdisciplinary communications systems improve or hinder individual and organizational responses to disaster risks in highly dynamic environments. To address this question, we have designed and are testing a sociotechnical infrastructure to enhance land-based information flow in the current Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System (InaTEWS). Outcomes of this study will guide the process of building community resilience in a wide range of disaster prone environments. This project is generously supported by the National Science Foundation and involves a collaborative team of researchers across six institutions in the U.S. and Indonesia. 

Resilient and Sustainable Building Design
In collaboration with engineering and architecture researchers at Penn State and Pitt, we are working on a decision framework to support the design of buildings that are resilient and sustainable in the context of multiple hazards. Many economic, environmental, social, and technology considerations factor into building design—decision-makers must make tradeoffs among these factors based on risks and costs. Using innovative model-based simulation, this research will produce a rigorous and sequential decision framework to assist decision-makers in negotiating these complex considerations. This framework will include interactive visualization to allow decision-makers insights into relationships between tradeoffs and within the context of broader community resilience. 

Sense-Making and Emergent Behavior
In collaboration with Pitt’s School of Computing and Information, we are exploring how people and communities collectively make sense of and respond to crises, including spontaneous and emergent behavior. We also seek to better understand current and potential relationships between emergent behavior and more traditional emergency management structures.  


Center for Disaster Management
3807 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260