Chief Catastrophe Response & Resiliency Officer, California Earthquake Authority
Principal, Laurie Johnson Consulting | Research

Laurie Johnson is an internationally-recognized urban planner specializing in disaster recovery and catastrophe risk management. For over 30 years, she has combined her unique blend of professional practice and research in earth science, urban planning and public policy to help communities address the complex urban challenges posed by natural hazards and disasters. Much of her post-disaster recovery work is captured in her recent book, After Great Disasters: An In-Depth Analysis of How Six Countries Managed Community Recovery (2017). In June 2020, she assumed a new role of Chief Catastrophe Response and Resiliency Officer for the California Earthquake Authority and the newly-established California Wildfire Fund. She is the 2019-2020 President of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), on the Steering Committee of the Geotechnical Extreme Event Reconnaissance (GEER) organization, and a 2018 inductee into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners. She holds a Doctor of Informatics degree from Kyoto University and a Master of Urban Planning and Bachelor of Science in Geophysics, both from Texas A&M University.


Rising to Disaster Challenges – Planners and the Importance of Planning

Drawing upon her years of experience researching and practicing disaster recovery planning and management following major urban disasters, including Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy in the United States, the Kobe and Tohoku earthquakes in Japan and the Canterbury earthquake sequence in New Zealand, Laurie Johnson will present key findings from her recent book, After Great Disasters: An In-Depth Analysis of How Six Countries Managed Community Recovery. Recovery and resilience planning offers opportunities to improve building construction and design, renew infrastructure, create new land use arrangements, reinvent economies, and improve governance. If done well, it can also help break the cycle of disaster impacts and losses and improve the resilience of a city or region. The lessons presented can help planners develop and implement effective resilience plans ahead of disaster and also be ready to rise to the challenges presented by future earthquakes, floods and other disasters. A framework for planning, managing and retreating from future hazard-prone areas will also be presented.

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