Maxinne Rhea Leighton, Ph.D. is a 2020 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.
Dr. Maxinne Leighton at her Dissertation Defense.
From L-R: Dr. Elizabeth Holloway, Committee Chair, Dr. Laurien Alexandre, Committee Member, Dr. May Joseph, Committee Member, Mr. Ronald Shiffman, Committee Member
- Elizabeth Holloway, Ph.D., Committee Chair
- Laurien Alexandre, Ph.D., Committee Member
- May Joseph, Ph.D., Committee Member
- Ronald Schiffman, FAICP, Committee Member
Standing by my bedroom window, looking out at the ocean, a huge wave comes and swallows up my building. Everything around me is gone, including me. I wake up. I am 13 years old and living in the Coney Island Houses on Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, New York. With ongoing anthropogenic changes to the natural environment such as sea level rise and intensifying storms, coastal communities, especially ones segregated by class and culture, are particularly vulnerable in this context that challenges a way of life, and in some instances, threatens that life's survival. This dissertation focuses specifically on what one massive storm - Hurricane Sandy (Superstorm Sandy) - left behind. This research explored how these experiences impacted the design/ planning professionals (architects, planners, landscape architects, engineers) approaches to future climate-related events, as well as the impacts upon them personally, professionally, and societally. A single, embedded case study with narrative inquiry was used to gather first-person accounts and insights into the work, thoughts, and feelings of professionals whom society relies on increasingly as climate-induced crises proliferate. Data were classified into three pillars: Personal (impacts on the self/individual, psycho-social challenges, empathy/stress), Professional (impact to professional practice, reflection on strategies post-Sandy, impact on future events), and Societal (local and global impacts, leadership). Prominent themes under the personal pillar were impermanence, emotional resilience, and dignity. Professionally, Sandy left the study participants looking toward a more reflective design practice. The societal pillar described the broader social issues that emerged from the interviews. Two significant findings were lack of equal attention to marginalized communities and lack of diversity and inclusion within the design/planning profession. As more populations are being impacted by Hurricane Sandy-like events, designers/planners will need to become leaders in changing to both a reflective and proactive stance to professional practice in the context of climate, economic and social justice. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive, http://aura.antioch.edu/, and OhioLINK ETD Center, https://etd.ohiolink.edu/
Leighton, M. R. (2020). Arising: Hurricane (Superstorm) Sandy’s Impact on Design/Planning Professionals. https://aura.antioch.edu/etds/587
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