Recovery is the disaster after the disaster, particularly for long-term recovery (LTR). Classic emergency management (EM) approaches may fail to address LTR because of its “wicked problems,” which evade traditional top-down systems. For wicked problems, scholars recommend mobilization of varied stakeholder networks. One such network exists in LTR through community-led coalitions, an organizing phenomenon coordinating nonprofits, congregations, associations, and other services to streamline diverse, critical services. The model brings together emergent groups, governmental EM, and nongovernmental EM sectors. This study examines how community-led LTR coalitions interpret and tackle LTR’s wicked problems through an in-depth qualitative analysis of Long-Term Recovery Groups after Hurricane Sandy in New York City. The research methodology includes interviews with coalition coordinators and assessments of materials relating to these coalitions. The study demonstrates the strengths and weaknesses in coalition approaches to five wicked problems derived from LTR scholarship. It offers recommendations to LTR practitioners across sectors and explores the significance of these coalitions for EM and democratic participation in recovery. This thesis applies scholarly rigor to approaches taken by coalitions in NYC to make sense of LTR’s wicked problems and collectively tackle them. It is written by and for leaders who serve survivors through the long haul of recovery—the “last responders.”
Woodbury, Glen L. Fernandez, Lauren S.
Security Studies (Homeland Security and Defense)
Naval Postgraduate School
Master of Arts in Security Studies (Homeland Security and Defense)
National Security Affairs (CHDS)
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