Unfortunately, Mother Nature has continued to take us by surprise this summer. It’s becoming clear that these weather events will become more frequent and extreme, and that’s alongside living in a country that straddles major fault lines and its largest cities are built around volcanoes.

This year we’re extremely privileged to have a disaster response expect coming to our shores to speak at NZPI Conference 2023. Laurie Johnson’s impressive job title is Chief Catastrophe Response & Resiliency Officer, California Earthquake Authority Principal, and she’ll be coming across from the USA in April. She’s an internationally recognised urban planner specialising in disaster recovery and catastrophe risk management.

Laurie began her planning career working with communities that were soon struck by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Ever since she’s been involved in post-disaster recovery planning, management and research following many of the world's major urban disasters, including earthquakes in California, Japan, New Zealand, and China. Much of her work is captured in her recent book, After Great Disasters: An In-Depth Analysis of How Six Countries Managed Community Recovery (2017). Laurie also has an extensive background in disaster loss estimation and catastrophe risk modelling, serving as Vice President of Technical Marketing and Catastrophe Response at RMS for many years.

Laurie is the President of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), a technical society devoted to earthquake risk reduction across the globe. She’s also on the Steering Committee of the Geotechnical Extreme Event Reconnaissance organization, the Board of Trustees of the Earthquakes and Megacities Initiative, and the Advisory Board of the Global Earthquake Model. In 2018, she was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Laurie’s keynote session at NZPI Conference 2023 will focus on the conference theme of Rising up to the Challenges that we face in planning for our current and future environments. She’ll present key findings on how recovery and resilience planning offer opportunities to improve building construction and design, renew infrastructure, create new land use arrangements, reinvent economies, and improve governance. Laurie believes that lessons learned from past disasters can help planners develop and implement effective resilience plans ahead of disaster and also be ready to rise to the challenges presented by future disasters.

On windy weekends, you can find Laurie kite foiling or sailing out on San Francisco Bay or the Sacramento Delta. We’re hoping to bring her in person to meet you at #NZPIC23, 19 – 21 April in Ōtautahi / Christchurch. 

Register Here