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New tool identifies which cities are most resistant to natural disasters

Posted On Tue, July 19, 2011

Researchers have developed a new online tool that can help determine what metropolitan regions are the most resilient when it comes to weathering environmental disasters.

The tool, called the Resilience Capacity Index, was developed by Kathryn Foster, who heads the Regional Institute at the University of Buffalo. The device determines a city's capability of withstanding a disaster by taking several factors into consideration, such as how many of its residents have health insurance, income inequality and other demographic factors.

"Conceiving of regions as capable of adapting and transforming in response to challenges allows researchers and practitioners to understand the conditions and interventions that may make one place more or less resilient and why," said Foster.

According to the tool, Northeastern and Midwestern regions are the most capable of bouncing back after natural disasters while Western and Southern localities don't fare as well.

In terms of specific cities, topping the RCI is Rochester, Minnesota, while College Station, Texas, is among the worst, suggesting that it may not be able to bounce back as effectively after a severe weather event.

This tool me prove useful in the future for insurers, as it may help them determine insurance rates based on how resistant metropolitan regions are to catastrophes.

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