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88 | How to Make Useful Noise

Maggie Stephenson has served as an expert consultant to UN-Habitat, the United Nations and numerous disaster management agencies throughout the world for over twenty years.

88 | How to Make Useful Noise

Maggie Stephenson’s work has emphasized the importance of people-centered approaches and a balance between technical expertise and humane policies. She is the author of numerous articles on post-disaster reconstruction and post-disaster policy, having worked in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. In addition, she has served in various roles in municipal governments as well as the academy.

In these myriad roles, Stephenson has described disaster recovery as more a process than an outcome, where ultimate success depends on the degree to which the recovery actors are themselves empowered. Fundamentally, recovery takes place against a backdrop of historical factors and power dynamics, which must be acknowledged from the moment recovery begins and carry on throughout the long period of redevelopment. 

In the wake of the Haiti Earthquake in 2021, Stephenson questioned the capacities and preparedness among humanitarian agencies and local communities residing in vulnerable zones to efficiently tackle rebuilding without starting from scratch each time, as well as the attention paid to data collection, preservation and sharing for long term planning in disaster prone areas.

We had a chance to speak with Maggie on Social Design Insights, have a listen below. Click on the links at the left for more information about Maggie and her amazing work.


Social Design Insights would like to thank all those who make our weekly show possible: Baruch Zeichner, our Producer and Sound Engineer, Donna Read, for producing our video content, and Leah Freidenrich, Director of the Curry Stone Foundation. Our theme music for 2018 is "Alright With Me" by Reggie Young from his album "Young Street." The break music for this episode is "No Matter The Wreckage" by Rowan Piggott from his album "Mountscribe."