Center for Compassionate & Sustainable Communities

Using research and practice to advance human flourishing

Working Groups

Graduate Student Collective

This group exists to foster an intellectual community of graduate students interested in research in the realms of compassion, sustainability, and communities. A core aim is to foster the exchange of ideas, skills, and care among research-oriented graduate students throughout their graduate careers. The collective began in Fall 2019 and is ongoing.

Hazards and Climate Change

This research team consists of faculty and students who research seeks to reduce short-term and long-term risks from natural hazards like floods and droughts and climate change impacts that exacerbate existing natural hazards. Multiple externally-funded grant projects (NSF, NOAA) examine the networks of people, plans, and policies that shape sustainability and resilience at the local level.

Engaged KU

This pilot program is a partnership between CCSC and the Center for Service Learning. Engaged KU supports interdisciplinary learning about theories, methods, and practical applications of community-engaged learning across different academic and professional fields. More than a half dozen fields at KU are represented by faculty, students and staff who are working with the City of Lawrence Sustainability Office to enhance community engagement around issues of climate justice and compassion. This program began in fall 2019 and will continue through 2020.

Externally Funded Research

Assessing the Influence of Hazard Mitigation Planning on Disaster Recovery

Principal Investigator: Ward Lyles
Co-Principal Investigator: Elaina J. Sutley
Funding Agency: National Science Foundation
Period: 2019 - 2022
Project Summary:
The research team, led by Ward Lyles and Elaina Sutley, will address an important gap in knowledge about how hazard mitigation and planning before a natural disaster affects recovery after a disaster and reduces long-term risk. Thanks to prior work from the research team, they can collect data on post-disaster recovery decision-making, outputs such as planning documents, and outcomes like decisions to steer development out of locations known to be hazardous. The team will merge that data with existing data on hazard mitigation. Through this research, the team will generate information relevant to policymakers and practitioners, extend the foundation of datasets needed for future data analysis, and strengthen the hazards research community.

CAREER: Integrated Modeling of Hazard Mitigation Stakeholder Networks for Compassionate, Sustainable Risk Reduction

Principal Investigator: Ward Lyles
Funding Agency: National Science Foundation
Period: 2018 - 2023
Project Summary:
This project develops, tests, and refines a new model which explicitly incorporates stakeholders' thoughts and emotions as factors that interact to enhance or constrain hazard mitigation decision-making. Anticipated contributions of the project include an improved process for more effective, sustainable hazard mitigation decision-making at the local level and expansion of a generation of hazard mitigation champions across multiple professional and academic disciplines. The integrated education and research program will foster dissemination of findings widely and cost-effectively, including to historically underrepresented populations.

Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program Phase III

Principal Investigator: Ward Lyles
Funding Agency: University of Oklahoma Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program
Period: 2018 - 2021
Project Summary:
Ward Lyles will provide expertise and engage in research efforts around three tasks in the project, each based on a research question: How do emergency managers participate in a planning process that seeks to develop long-term hazard risk reduction? How do configurations of social networks and social capital evolve in response to disasters? How does information-seeking behavior differ between resource-constrained and resource-abundant jurisdictions, and how does that affect planning outcomes? Lyles will participate in the conceptual framing, research design and methodology, interpretation, and dissemination of the findings for each of these questions.