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  1. City governments incorporate ICTs into government services to improve citizen participation and access to those services. Too much dependence on technology, however, can lead to concerns about creating a digital divide between different groups of citizens. The potential for digital inequality is a critical issue that can be exacerbated by insufficient attention being paid to vulnerabilities across communities. Given that socio-economically vulnerable populations are the ones who need government services the most, especially during disaster events, it is critical to investigate the extent to which digital inequality is an issue for technology-based government services. With this in mind, this paper analyzes the use of different technology-enabled access options for a representative eGovernment service system, the New York City 311 service system, in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Two sets of socio-economically distinct locations in New York City are compared, using average income as a proxy for vulnerability, to draw conclusions about potential inequalities in such a system during a crisis. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 3, 2024
  2. Heat waves are becoming more common and intense with global climate change, which requires deploying resilience strategies of governments to prepare for long-term trends of higher temperatures and carefully plan emergency responses for such extreme heat events. The British Columbia province of Canada is one of the regions severely affected by extreme climatic events in 2021, which resulted in several deaths and put hundreds of thousands of people scrambling for relief. This study examines the public reactions to one of these extreme climatic events, the 2021 Pasific Northwest heatwave, in a non-emergency service request platform to uncover the types of municipal service needs during severe climatic disasters. City of Vancouver 311 system data is used to identify the impact of heatwave on the frequency and types of service needs and examine the significance of the relationship between climatic conditions and the non-emergency service volumes. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
    Orange County, Florida is intimately familiar with impacts of natural disasters because of the yearly threat of hurricanes in the southeastern United States. One of the tools that has aided them in their efforts to monitor and manage such disasters is their 311 non-emergency call system, through which local residents can issue requests to the municipality for disaster-related information or other services. This paper provides a preliminary examination of the potential for the Orange County 311 system to provide actionable information to them in support of their efforts to manage a different type of disaster: the COVID-19 pandemic. The potential of the system to support the County in this context is illustrated through several preliminary analyses of the complete set of service requests that were registered in the first ten months of 2020. 
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  4. Adrot, A. ; Grace, R. ; Moore, K. ; Zobel, C. W. (Ed.)
    The devastating economic and societal impacts of COVID-19 can be substantially compounded by other secondary events that increase individuals’ exposure through mass gatherings such as protests or sheltering due to a natural disaster. Based on the Crichton’s Risk Triangle model, this paper proposes a Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) simulation framework to estimate the impact of mass gatherings on COVID-19 infections by adjusting levels of exposure and vulnerability. To this end, a case study of New York City is considered, at which the impact of mass gathering at public shelters due to a hypothetical hurricane will be studied. The simulation results will be discussed in the context of determining effective policies for reducing the impact of multi-hazard generalizability of our approach to other secondary events that can cause mass gatherings during a pandemic will also be discussed. 
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  5. Pre-positioning of supplies is important to facilitate disaster relief operations, however it is only after a disaster event occurs that the effectiveness of the pre-positioning strategy can be properly assessed. With this in mind, this paper analyzes a risk-based pre-positioning algorithm, developed for the American Red Cross, in the context of its actual performance in the 2013 Colorado Front Range floods. The paper assesses the relative effectiveness of the pre-positioning approach with respect to historical asset placements, and it discusses changes to the model that are necessary to support such comparisons and allow for further model extensions. 
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  6. During emergencies, it is often necessary to evacuate vulnerable people to safer places to reduce loss of lives and cope with human suffering. Shelters are publically available places to evacuate, especially for people who do not have any other choices. This paper overviews emergency shelter planning in disaster mitigation and preparation and discusses the need for better responding to people who need to evacuate during emergencies. Recent evacuation studies pay attention to integrating social factors into evacuation modeling for better prediction of evacuation decisions. Our goal is to address the impact of social behavior on the sheltering choices of evacuees and to explore the potential contributions of including social network characteristics in the decision-making process of authorities. We present the shelter utilization problem in South Carolina during Hurricane Florence and discuss an agent-based modeling approach that considers social community structures in modeling the shelter choice behavior of socially connected individuals 
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