Vulnerable Neighborhood Explorer

Author(s): Su Yeon Han, Jeon-Young Kang, Fangzheng Lyu, Furqan Baig, Jinwoo Park, Shaowen Wang

Effective disaster management strategies require timely identification of disaster-prone neighborhoods and an examination of disparities in disaster exposure. Such efforts are essential for policymakers, first responders, and professionals in health and social care services to alleviate human suffering during disasters. While previous studies have explored racial, ethnic, and geographic disparities, not enough attention has been given to developing accessible and reusable tools to prompt the identification of vulnerable neighborhoods and examine social disparities in disaster impacts. To address this gap, our research team has developed a cyberGIS-based visual analytics tool known as the Vulnerable Neighborhood Explorer (VNE). The VNE enables users to delineate neighborhoods based on socioeconomic and demographic profiles and explore which neighborhoods are susceptible to disaster impacts based on specific characteristics. Through a case study in Chicago, we used the VNE to examine the disparities in COVID-19 cases, tests, and fatality rates among various neighborhood types. Our findings demonstrate that the VNE can provide new insights into identifying vulnerable neighborhoods that require immediate attention for disaster control, management, and relief.

Keywords: COVID-19, disaster, Geovisualization, social vulnerability, visual analytics, vulnerability

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Su Yeon Han

Texas State University

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