December 14, 2016

HCDE Seminar Series: Dr. Scott Miles, “Stakeholder Understanding of Recovery from the 2010-2011 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence: From Decision-Driven Data-Making to Data-Driven Decision-Making”

Event Details

Please join the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering for the 2016 HCDE Seminar Series. Full series at

As one of the most data-rich disasters in history, the 2010-2011 Canterbury, New Zealand earthquake sequence provides a timely and valuable opportunity to examine an understudied topic: how major stakeholders attempt to comprehend the progress and impacts of the multiplicity of disaster recovery over time. A case study was conducted on Christchurch, New Zealand to gain insight into his topic. A team of five researchers interviewed 122 participants from 26 different government and private sector organizations across 45 meetings. Study participants included high-level users of data (e.g., decision-makers or those who requested the creation of the data) and the managers and creators of data. Four environments of recovery were used to facilitate recruitment of study participants: built environment, economic environment, social environment, and human environment. With respect to recovery sectors, 13 meetings dealt with the built environment, 11 dealt with social, eight dealt with economic, and eight dealt with human. The remainder of the meetings (five) were with stakeholders who managed or researched multiple sectors. Open-ended interviews were conducted based on the central question “How do you or your organization understand or monitor recovery from the Canterbury earthquake sequence?” The purpose of this focusing question was to encourage participants to think about and discuss the means used to interpret disaster recovery with respect to their responsibilities or interests. Thematic analysis was conducted on the qualitative data collected during interviews. Three major themes were identified—sharing and integrating; decision-driven data-making; data-driven decision-making—each with three corresponding concepts. The case study findings provide unique insights that can be used to interpret future disaster recovery monitoring and reporting activities. Case study findings can also inform alternatives for developing institutional and technological arrangements to facilitate future disaster recovery management and research.

About Scott Miles
Dr. Scott Miles is an expert on disaster risk reduction, community resilience, and lifeline infrastructure. He is currently a research scientist in the department of Human Centered Design and Engineering at University of Washington and a private consultant. As a social scientist with an engineering background, Dr. Miles has a strong foundation in both quantitative and qualitative analysis methods. Dr. Miles has received grant funding or contracts from the National Science Foundation, Natural Hazards Center, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, Washington State Emergency Management Division, Washington State Department of Ecology, King Count Office of Emergency Management, NOAA, and USGS, among others. Dr. Miles received his PhD in geography from University of Washington, where he studied the synergy between urban geography, geological hazards, disaster recovery, spatial simulation modeling, and collaborative process design. He received a post-graduate diploma from the University of Edinburgh in GIS, with a focus on environmental modeling. His MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering is from University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where he focused on geotechnical earthquake engineering and numerical methods. An undergraduate degree in the same field was received from Washington State University.