Stephanie Chang

Institute for Environment Resources and Sustainability
University of British Columbia
West Mall Annex Room 241
1933 West Mall
Vancouver, BC
Canada V6T 1Z2

Phone: 604-827-5054

Fax: 604-822-6164



Research area(s):

  • Anthropogenic stressors
  • Ocean modelling
  • Spatial technologies

Area of Expertise:

Dr. Stephanie Chang’s research addresses issues of community vulnerability and resilience to natural disasters. Broadly speaking, it investigates three types of questions: What happens in disasters, and why? What can be anticipated in future disasters? And, how can disruption from disasters be effectively reduced? Her work emphasizes economic, geographic, and planning aspects of risk and resilience at the urban scale. She is particularly interested in the role of urban infrastructure such as energy, water, and transportation systems. Dr. Chang has written extensively on socio-economic impacts of disasters, loss estimation models for critical infrastructure systems, infrastructure interdependencies, economic evaluation of disaster mitigations, urban disaster recovery, and long-term urban risk dynamics. She has conducted research on these topics in Canada, the U.S., Japan, New Zealand, and other places. Her current projects focus on coastal hazard risk and resilience in British Columbia. Dr. Chang has served on the U.S. National Research Council’s Committee on Disaster Research in the Social Sciences and its Committee on Earthquake Resilience Research, Implementation, and Outreach.

Her current (2019) projects include:

  • Resilient Coasts Canada platform: Coastal communities face many hazards, ranging from oil spills to coastal flooding and the longer-term threat of climate change. New information tools are needed to help communities find relevant tools and information to address these risks. The Resilient Coasts Canada (Resilient-C) online platform was developed to facilitate knowledge and resource sharing between coastal communities to support hazard risk reduction. Launched in 2016, the platform uses an indicator approach to help communities identify similarly vulnerable peer communities, as well as learn about risk reduction activities they are undertaking. Currently, new geospatial vulnerability indicators are being developed and the platform’s geographic scope is being expanded from the Salish Sea region of British Columbia to other coastal regions of Canada.
  • Strategic Planning for Coastal Community Resilience to Marine Transportation Disruption (SIREN: A catastrophic earthquake could disrupt marine transportation across coastal British Columbia, severely affecting supply chains to coastal communities and emergency response capabilities. This project seeks to better understand such risks and develop effective resilience strategies for different types of coastal communities. It inquires into how disaster events would likely affect ports, marine transportation routes, and the associated movement of people and resources in the emergency response phase, and what strategies would be effective to alleviate potential consequences. Co-principal investigators on this project are David Bristow at the University of Victoria (infrastructure systems modeling) and Ron Pelot and Floris Goerlandt at Dalhousie University (shipping risk).
  • Model of Impact of Dilbit and Oil Spills in the Salish Sea (MIDOSS): The Salish Sea and coastal communities are at risk of marine oil spills from various ship sources, including tankers carrying diluted bitumen (dilbit), which are projected to increase. This project seeks to improve scientific knowledge and tools to support evidence-based planning for oil spills. The research will improve modeling of dilbit in the coastal ocean, prediction of near-surface currents, and risk communication strategies for diverse decision-making groups. It will produce predictions of strong currents and extreme high/low water for pilots to help reduce ship accidents, as well as maps and related information products to aid in community planning and in addressing ecosystem vulnerability. The study is a collaboration with Susan Allen at UBC (oceanography) and Haibo Niu at Dalhousie University (oceanography).

Select Presentation(s) / Publication(s):

Oulahen, Greg & Mcbean, Gordon & Shrubsole, Dan & E. Chang, Stephanie. (2018). Production of risk: multiple interacting exposures and unequal vulnerability in coastal communities. Regional Environmental Change. 10.1007/s10113-018-1440-5.

Oulahen, Greg & E. Chang, Stephanie & Z.K. Yip, Jackie & Conger, Tugce & Marteleira, Michelle & Carter, Christopher. (2017). Contextualizing institutional factors in an indicator-based analysis of hazard vulnerability for coastal communities. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. 1-21. 10.1080/09640568.2017.1399109.

E. Chang, Stephanie & Stone, Jeremy & Demes, Kyle & Piscitelli-Doshkov, Marina. (2014). Consequences of oil spills: A review and framework for informing planning. ECOLOGY AND SOCIETY. 19. 26. 10.5751/ES-06406-190226.

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