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Daisuke Komori

Tohoku University

Breakout Room 3.


socio-hydrology; dynamics; values; cultural anthropology

How can the human dimensions of disaster impacts be more accurately captured and represented in the analysis, modeling and simulation of disasters?

I am considering that the promotion of the socio-hydrological approach; which has been rapidly advancing in the water sciences in recent years; is important for capturing the human dimension of disaster impacts. Socio-hydrology is a science that integrates the dynamics of human activities and the water cycle and internalizes the mutual feedback between human activities and the water cycle. System dynamics models and agent-based models are frequently applied to the case studies of flooding and water resource management. In the case of the human dimension of disaster impact; disasters impact not only human memory but also improve disaster management systems. As disaster management systems improve and disaster risk decreases; human memory is also impacted. I consider that systemic modeling and its higher resolution (downscaling) integrate (abstract) the interaction between human activities and disaster risk may be very effective in capturing the human dimension of disaster impacts. On the other hand; it is also important to understand the interaction through systemic modeling; which extremely discards the relationship between human activities and disaster risk; and to conduct research that links this understanding to reality (upscaling). I am interested in linking the two; and a comprehensive understanding of the dynamic mechanisms of the interaction between human activities and disaster risk may be achieved.

What type of data and supporting research infrastructure would be necessary to enable novel, transdisciplinary approaches to answering these and other human-centered disaster questions?

Human 'values' are an important role in the interaction between human society and disaster risk. For example; the water system (river environment) is changed by flood control measures; but it will be changed again if other measures such as environmental conservation are implemented to improve it. Similarly; human memory (citizens' concerns) is impacted when water-based risks appear; and citizens' concerns will be changed again by fewer experiences due to fewer risks controlled by other measures such as flood control installation. In other words; there is bi-directional feedback between the river environment and citizens' concerns; which makes the reality of citizens' concerns important in the promotion of more integrated flood control measures and effective disaster prevention and mitigation systems. Human ‘values' have recently received a lot of conceptual and empirical attention in environmental and sustainability research because they enable the exploration of the underlying psychological constructs that determine interest in the environment and have been explored from diverse disciplinary perspectives. They are treated as a subject of research in various academic fields; such as cultural anthropology; sociology; social psychology and psychology. I think data and interdisciplinary approaches from these fields are important. For example; it is vital to have a research system that supports the discovery and deepening of traditional knowledge/experiences that are not well recognized/discussed internationally (generality); such as knowledge on disaster prevention and mitigation that has been handed down in the region (locality).

In what ways can US-Japan collaborations advance these questions in new and important ways?

Due to different natures and cultures; differences in experience with water-related disaster risk and previous flood control measures; human 'values' in Japan and the US may differ; and there are likely to be interactions between different human activities and disaster risk in the US and Japan. Therefore; I think that it would be of great significance to individually apply the social hydrological approach in disaster cases in the US and Japan and to conduct international comparative research on the similarities and differences in the interactions. On the other hand; as disasters are extreme events; it can be inferred that there may not be significant differences in human 'values' between the US and Japan during extreme events. Therefore; I am considering that it will be also highly significant to investigate disaster cases and traditional knowledge in both countries and to conduct comparative research on similarities and differences in human 'values' in the two countries. Finally; I think the promotion of these collaborations will lead to the discovery of general principles in the interaction between human activities and disaster risk.

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