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Laurie Johnson

At a Glance

Class Year: 1986

Award Year: 2013

Degree: Master of Urban Planning

Profession: Urban Planning


Johnson, who earned a Master of Urban Planning degree at Texas A&M, has used her expertise in urban planning, disaster recovery and risk management to help governments respond to catastrophic events in New Orleans, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay area, New Jersey and North Dakota. “Johnson is in the top tier of disaster recovery experts in the world because of her intellectual leadership over the years,” said William Anderson, a disaster risk reduction consultant. “Her research following the 1989 Loma Prieta and 1994 Northridge earthquakes in California helped advance our understanding of the role of urban planning in risk reduction.” Her San Francisco-based firm, Laurie Johnson Consulting | Research, also helps governments mitigate hazards and regulate land use in geologically hazardous areas and pursues a research agenda that complements and advances the firm’s consulting practice. “Johnson has become a leading voice in hazard mitigation by pursuing a unique mix of research, practice, and volunteer service,” said Joseph Pobiner, a master planning and urban design consultant. Johnson’s firm has been engaged by the U.S. Geological Survey, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and other government agencies to help improve disaster recovery plans and programs and communicate disaster-related science. Her publications include peer-reviewed papers in the Journal of the American Planning Association and the International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters and she has research affiliations with Columbia University and the University of Illinois.