A System Model of Collaborative Community Response to Environmental Emergencies

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This paper analyzes the social and collaborative dynamic of coastal community response to severe weather events associated with the changing climate. Community emergencies arising from severe storms are considered to be exogenous events that affect community social activity. We developed a system dynamics model to depict the dynamic activity of the community system. The model incorporates structural equations for social collaboration among community members, social networking activity, and community well-being. The community system is described in terms of its population (social), land use (environmental), production (economic goods and services), and community capital (socio-cultural) resources. The community is also profiled by its demographic (population age distribution), education, work skill set, and health characteristics. Emergency events impact these components of the community profile. We present a system dynamics annualized simulation model that incorporates severe storm events; community profile dynamics in reaction to the severe storms; and community propensity for collaboration, well-being, and social activity. The results demonstrate the measurability of these concepts and provide indications for improved understanding and intervention of conditions that engage community collaborative actions. The model is motivated by examples from community research in the EnRiCH Project and the C-Change Project. Social mapping for collaboration, well-being, and social networking activity are illustrated for the C-Change coastal community of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, which is subject to severe coastal storms. The results indicate the value of dynamic community support for improved social response in the event of environmental emergencies.