Getting off (and on) the ground

Our present efforts are aimed at ensuring that our simulations and event model work for participants and community partners, developing partner relationships, and making sure that we have a solid theoretical foundation to work from.

Active projects

Neighborhood Disaster Popup

Our flagship simulation is a neighborhood earthquake. Presented as part of a block party, it embodies our community empowerment approach to disaster preparedness.

Our two pilot events—in May and November of 2017—were astonishingly successful, and we were honored with a community partner award from the Palo Alto-Stanford Citizens Corps Council. We spent 2018 focusing on research, but are now talking to several community partners about bringing an updated simulation to their communities.

Improvised leadership in the wild

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to study a real case of improvised leadership that took place in Rockport TX during Hurricane Harvey. We are analyzing the data, but are incorporating many insights into our simulations, and look forward to contributing to the scientific literature on this very under-studied area.

On our back burner

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Our events

Neighborhood earthquake popup

We gather a group of neighbors and have them work through a series of the challenges they might face in the week immediately following a catastrophic earthquake. The action takes place in their own homes and around the neighborhood. They have only the resources and people that are actually available. After the simulation, participants have time to discuss insights, share hopes and disappointments, celebrate discovery of hidden strengths, and cement new relationships with each other.

2017-11-11 Ross Ct, Palo Alto CA

2017-05-20 Pepper/Olive Av, Palo Alto CA

Our publications

It Doesn’t Work that Way! Larping for Disaster Preparedness
Susanne Jul, Aaron Vanek. Presentation to the International Academic Conference “Consolidation of Society: Larp as a social tool.” 2017.

Heroism in Times of Crisis: Understanding Leadership during Extreme Events
Zeno E. Franco. Handbook of Heroism and Heroic Leadership. 2016.

Community Views of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s ‘Whole Community’ Strategy in a Complex US City: Re-envisioning Societal Resilience
Heather Koch, Zeno E. Franco, Tracey O’Sullivan, Mia C. DeFino, Syed Ahmed. Technology Forecasting and Social Change. 2016.

Live Action Role-Playing (Larp): Insight Into an Underutilized Educational Tool
Aaron Vanek, Andrew Peterson. Learning, Education and Games. 2016.

Using Social Network Analysis to Explore Issues of Latency, Connectivity, Interoperability & Sustainability in Community Disaster Response
Zeno Franco, Syed Ahmed, Craig Kuziemsky, Paul Biedrzycki, Anne Kissack. 10th International ISCRAM Conference. 2013.

Heroism: A Conceptual Analysis and Differentiation between Heroic Action and Altruism
Zeno E. Franco, Kathy Blau, Philip G. Zimbardo. Review of General Psychology. 2011.

You Get What You Plan For! (.key)
Susanne Jul. 7th International ISCRAM Conference. 2010.

Structuring the Problem Space of User Interface Design for Disaster Response Technologies
Susanne Jul. Information Systems For Emergency Management. 2009.

Prepare to be Unprepared: Human Resources
Susanne Jul. WCDM presentation. 2007.