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Archive for the ‘Resilience’ Category

Were the impacts of Harvey in Houston a result of no zoning in the city of no limits? This assertion seems to be the catch-all phrase used by Houston’s detractors for all that was exposed by Harvey in terms of planning or the lack thereof.  On the other hand, critics of regulation like to point out that zoned cities fared just as badly as Houston during Harvey. Our Mayor famously said that “zoning wouldn’t have changed anything. We would have been a city with zoning that flooded.” (more…)

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For many Texans, this week will be unlike any other because they got flooded. Getting on track will be long and heartbreaking. People will find their strength, but I also know their savings will be drained, debts created, and life’s plans disrupted. For many others, including myself, this week is the same as any other because my house did not flood. Water came close, but it receded in hours. For my wife and I, our nerves are frayed, but our finances and home life are whole. And, we will help friends and strangers recover.

The accounting in this disaster is simple: I and others who were spared received the Harvey dividend, while those flooded paid the Harvey premium. You don’t need to own stock to get a Harvey dividend. Live in the right place and build in the right way, and the payout for being resilient is virtually automatic. And, you don’t need to have insurance to owe premiums. Each day away from school and work, each dollar spent ripping out moldy carpet, each month that passes to get life right-side up is a premium paid.

This may seem like an unfair lottery for those that got flooded, but this is no lottery. Where we build and what we build matters greatly. The term business-as-usual is shorthand for lack of vision and courage, and business-as-usual is putting people in harms’ way. It is impossible to know when the next accounting will take place. But, here we are again, the third 100-year event in three years.

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Capture

An example of floodplain tailgating?

As I drove into work this morning I found myself behind an 18-wheeler. I was keeping the required distance—one car length for every 10mph, more or less, when the truck swerved just a wee bit, getting pretty close to the concrete divider of the inside lane we were traveling in. (more…)

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On 3/23/2016 and 3/24/2016, TCWP hosted two resiliency workshops for Aransas and San Patricio Counties. These workshops served as a forum for local officials, staff, and stakeholders to discuss how their communities can grow in a way that reduces the risk of flooding and future disasters.

Over 60 people participated in these workshops and interacted with representatives from Texas A&M, FEMA, the Texas Department of Insurance, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the Texas Department of Emergency Management.

In addition to learning about hazard mitigation and what these agencies are doing to promote resiliency, participants used TCWP’s CHARM mapping platform to analyze the impact that different development scenarios would have on future water infrastructure demand, flood risk, storm surge risk, etc.

The Resiliency Workshops were coordinated by TCWP’s CERC team. TCWP will host a resiliency workshop for each Texas Coastal County during 2016/2017.

For more information about how you can become involved, please contact Resiliency Program Coordinator Race Hodges at race.hodges@tamu.edu

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New Article Available!

Communities have many ways to guide future development to minimize hazard vulnerability – building codes, comprehensive plans, zoning regulations, etc., however, the degree to which different local plans and policies support one another in reducing risk often varies greatly.

In the recently published Evaluation of Networks of Plans and Vulnerability to Hazards and Climate Change, Berke et al. (2015) present their development of a resiliency scorecard which can be used to assess how well local plans are integrated and if they reduce, or perhaps inadvertently increase, long term physical and social vulnerability to hazards.

The article references a number of studies which indicate that hazard mitigation planning, centered on strong land use practices, is extraordinarily more effective in reducing the impacts of hazards than reactive emergency response.

This paradigm shift in emergency management has required that long term community planning play a critical role in the disaster resilient community, however, this requires that various municipal officials, such as those involved with public works, urban planning, emergency management, etc., are aware of how they can work together to ensure that their community’s plans, policies, and practices are well integrated to reduce disaster vulnerability.  (more…)

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