Hurricane Season and Relief Efforts: Expert Comment From the University of Pennsylvania

Note for TV and radio: The University of Pennsylvania has an on-campus satellite uplink facility with live-shot capability and an on-campus ISDN line.

Water and Infrastructure in Cities
Nikhil Anand is an assistant professor of anthropology in the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts & Sciences. He can discuss how development and infrastructure in cities have affected resistance to and preparation against water-related disasters. His expertise, which focuses on the city of Mumbai, can be applied to similar cities worldwide. He recently published Hydraulic City about water in Mumbai.
Media contact: Michele Berger at 215-898-6751 or 

Daniel Aldana Cohen is an assistant professor of sociology in the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts & Sciences. He can discuss the interplay of climate politics and social-movement protest in global cities. He has written extensively on the subjects and previously co-hosted a podcast about climate politics called Hot & Bothered. He co-founded the Superstorm Research Lab at New York University.
Media contact: Michele Berger at 215-898-6751 or

Rebuilding Houston
Eugenie Birch is the Lawrence C. Nussdorf Professor of Urban Research & Education in the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, co-director of the Penn Institute for Urban Research and co-editor of Rebuilding Urban Places After Disaster: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina. Dr. Birch can discuss government and private-sector strategic responses to disasters and the challenges of rebuilding communities following such events.
Media contact: Michael Grant at 215-898-2539 or

Residential Segregation, Poverty and Race
Camille Charles is a professor of sociology, Africana studies and education and director of the Center for Africana Studies in the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts & Sciences. Dr. Charles can discuss issues of segregation, poverty and governmental response to socio-economic problems that affect African-Americans.
Media contact: Jacquie Posey at 215-898-6460 or

Climate Change and Environment
Billy Fleming is research director for the Ian L McHarg Center in the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, where he earned a Ph.D. in city planning. He is a co-author of The Indivisible Guide and a co-creator of Data Refuge. He is an expert in urban climate-change adaptation and the role that green infrastructure plays in promoting coastal resilience.   
Media contact: Michael Grant at 215-898-2539 or

Irina Marinov, assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences in the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts & Sciences, is an oceanographer and climate modeler. She can discuss what models predict about how the climate will change in the future, with a particular focus on the role of the oceans in the global heat and carbon cycle.
Media contact: Katherine Unger Baillie at or 215-898-9194

Post-disaster Mental Health
Richard Gelles, the Joanne and Raymond Welsh Chair of Child Welfare and Family Violence in the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice,  co-directed a University-wide initiative after Hurricane Katrina to produce a disaster-relief model that could be replicated at other colleges and universities across the country.
Media contact: Jessica Bautista at 215-573-8408 or

Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Policy
Howard Kunreuther, the James G. Dinan Professor in the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, and Robert Meyer, the Frederick H. Ecker/Met Life Insurance Professor of Marketing, co-direct the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center. They are co-authors of The Ostrich Paradox: Why We Unprepare for Disasters.
Media contact: Peter Winicov at 215-746-6471 or

Donations That Make a Difference
Katherina Rosqueta is the founding executive director of the University of Pennsylvania Center for High Impact Philanthropy, which provides guidance on philanthropy for social impact including disaster relief and recovery. A CHIP blog post, “Hurricane Harvey Floods: How Can I Help?”, provides guidance for donors on the best ways to help.
Media contact: Jacquie Posey, 215-898-6460 or

Resilience Post-natural Disaster
Frederick Steiner is dean and Paley Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. He co-directs PennDesign’s Ian L. McHarg Center. Author of the book Design for a Vulnerable Planet, Steiner who lived in Austin, Texas, for 15 years, can discuss lessons to be learned from human and natural disasters such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill as well as the challenges of rebuilding after natural disasters.
Media contact: Michael Grant at 215-898-2539 or

​​​​​​​News Coverage of Disasters
Barbie Zelizer is the Raymond Williams Professor of Communication and director of the Scholars Program in Culture and Communication and recently launched the Center for Media at Risk in the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication. She can discuss the disturbing images used in journalism to illustrate harrowing news accounts of disaster and recovery efforts related to Hurricane Harvey. She can also discuss the journalistic ethics of covering a disaster and the dramatization of disaster stories in the media.
​​​​​​​Media contact: Julie Sloane at 215-746-1798 or








Hurricane Harvey image Courtesy: European Space Agency