Yang Zhang, assistant professor of urban affairs and planning, and Patrick S. Roberts, assistant professor in the Center for Public Administration and Policy, School of Public and International Affairs, have been named 2009-10 Next Generation Fellows as part of a program led by Thomas Birkland, the William T. Kretzer Professor of Public Policy at North Carolina State University and sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The Next Generation of Hazards and Disasters Research Fellows work together in an intensive year of learning, collaboration, and mentoring.

Yang Zhang received a doctoral degree in urban and regional science from Texas A&M, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Beijing University. He says he is interested in natural hazards mitigation, post-disaster redevelopment, and sustainable urban form. He also has expertise in Geographic Information System (GIS) and planning support systems. His research has both domestic and international focuses.

In the United States, Zhang has studied housing recovery and hazard mitigation policy implementation in Miami-Dade County, Fla. He is involved in developing algorithms for MAEViz, a scenario-based seismic risk assessment system, which provides models to estimate physical damage, economic losses, transportation disruption, population dislocation, sheltering needs and the effectiveness of mitigation strategies.

Currently, he is looking at land market feedbacks of flood mitigation policies in the United States. Internationally, his current research looks at redevelopment and housing reconstruction after the Wenchuan Earthquake in China.

Zhang has worked research projects for Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center at Texas A&M; the Mid-America Earthquake Center of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy; and the Beijing Urban Planning Commission (China).

Patrick S. Roberts received a doctoral degree in government from the University of Virginia, a master’s degree in political philosophy from Claremont Graduate University, and a bachelor’s degree in politics from the University of Dallas. His current research focuses on how Americans have defined and constructed public organizations to prepare for and respond to disaster. He is particularly interested in the dynamics of organizations that prepare for hazards and disasters, both in the United States and globally.

He has been a postdoctoral fellow in the Harvard University Program on Constitutional Government, and, prior to that, was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University and a Centennial Center Fellow at The American Political Science Association in Washington D.C. His background also includes experience as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press in Albany, N.Y.