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8/30/2011 - What city is most capable of withstanding a catastrophe?

A new computer modeling program says Rochester, Minnesota, is the U.S. city best able to withstand a disaster.

Rochester, Minnesota, may not be well known, but according to a new online tool, it's the metropolitan region that's most capable of withstanding an environmental disaster.

Researchers at the University of Buffalo recently unveiled their Resilience Capacity Index. By vetting a variety of economic and demographic factors such as income equality, business environment, voter participation and determining how many people are covered, the RCI provides 361 cities with a z-score corresponding to its resiliency. The higher the z-score, the more disaster-resistant it is.

Other cities that appear to be capable of weathering climatic catastrophes are Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Boston and Seattle. According to the RCI, Western and Southern metro areas such as Las Vegas, Los Angeles and College Station, Texas do not fare as well.

"Conceiving of regions as capable of adapting and transforming in response to challenges allows researchers and practitioners to understand the conditions and interventions that may make one place more or less resilient and why," said Kathryn Foster, one of the study's lead researchers.

Should the tool prove to be accurate, it could be an invaluable for homeowners insurance companies, as it's another resource to assess risk.

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