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Faculty experts

Disaster recovery

Many immediate issues emerge in the wake of a major disaster, ranging from physical reconstruction and environmental and engineering concerns to legal questions, governance and economic stability. The following experts can address these concerns.


Mary Comerio
Professor of architecture
Email: mcomerio@berkeley.edu
Media Relations contact: Kathleen Maclay, (510) 643-5651, kmaclay@berkeley.edu

Expertise: Comerio is an internationally recognized authority on post-disaster reconstruction issues. She recommends tax credits for modifying buildings and infrastructure to improve resistance to hazards, a reconception of the government's role in disaster recovery, and government intervention to revitalize the private disaster insurance market.

Comerio has spent much of the last 20 years on reconnaissance missions to the scenes of tragedies such as Hurricane Andrew, and the Loma Prieta, Kobe, Christchurch and Haitian earthquakes. She advised in a 1998 book, "Disaster Hits Home: New Policy for Urban Housing Recovery," that unless new policies are adopted, natural disasters will continue to leave economic and housing ruin in their wake.

Christine Rosen
Associate professor, Business & Public Policy Group, Haas School of Business
Phone: (510) 642-8695
Email: crosen@haas.berkeley.edu
Media Relations contact: Kathleen Maclay (510) 643-5651 or kmaclay@berkeley.edu
Expertise: American business history, history of pollution regulation and corporate environmental management, and industrial ecology and new developments in corporate environmental management. Rosen is the author of "The Limits of Power: Great Fires and the Process of City Growth in America."

All cities struggle with disasters, Rosen says, and while those she has studied all came out better in certain respects, none could make all the improvements people sought.


Karlene Roberts
Emeritus professor of organizational behavior
Office: (510) 642-5221
Email: karlene@haas.berkeley.edu
Media Relations contact: Kathleen Maclay, (510) 643-5651, kmaclay@berkeley.edu

Expertise: Roberts is an authority on the management of organizations and systems in which error can have catastrophic consequences. Results of her research have been applied in U.S. Navy aircraft carrier operations, the U.S. Coast Guard and the medical industry, among others.


Robert Bea
Professor of civil engineering
Campus Office: (510) 642-0967
Home Office: (925) 631-1587
Email: bea@ce.berkeley.edu
Media Relations contact: Sarah Yang, (510) 643-7741, scyang@berkeley.edu

Ray Seed
Professor of civil engineering
Email: rmseed6@aol.com
Media Relations contact: Sarah Yang, (510) 643-7741, scyang@berkeley.edu

Expertise: Seed's research focus is on the performance of dams and waste fills, and on the interaction between soil and structures.


Severin Borenstein
Professor of business administration and public policy, Co-director of the UC Energy Institute, research associate for the National Bureau of Economic Research
Office: (510) 642-3689
Email: borenste@haas.berkeley.edu
Media Relations contact: Kathleen Maclay, (510) 643-5651, kmaclay@berkeley.edu

Expertise: Gasoline and oil market pricing and competition; U.S. and international airline industry and competition; electricity deregulation, market formation and competition.

Daniel A. Farber
Sho Sato Professor of Law; Director, Environmental Law Program at the School of Law (Boalt Hall)
Phone: (510) 642-0340
Email: dfarber@law.berkeley.edu
Media Relations contact: Kathleen Maclay, (510) 643-5651, kmaclay@berkeley.edu

Expertise: Techniques of risk assessment and risk management, environmental issues, planning procedures for government projects, disasters and the law.