TESTING RESILIENCY STRATEGIES THROUGH COLLABORATIVE AND INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH 

Greens Bayou Watershed Analysis and Resiliency Planning 

Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium

The Greens Bayou Watershed Analysis and Resiliency Planning study focuses on four Houston-area neighborhoods that have been and continue to be severely impacted by flooding from Hurricane Harvey. The neighborhoods are: East Aldine, Eastex/Jensen, East Houston, and Greenspoint. There has been far less investment in the Greens Bayou Watershed—the second most populous watershed in Houston—than in the Buffalo or Brays Bayou Watersheds. This inequity is largely due to the federal cost-benefit formula that regulates flood protection funding and requires that mitigation projects yield a positive economic return, a bar that is hard to meet in areas with lower property values.

 

Working across disciplines, researchers identified and analyzed vulnerabilities, barriers, and opportunities to increase resiliency holistically in the four neighborhoods. From this work, strategies were developed in collaboration with community leaders and summarized in four resiliency plans. The strategies range in scale, timeframe, and specificity to place. Protecting and sustaining our most vulnerable families and communities, including those who are linguistically isolated, struggle with poverty, lack mobility, or are housing insecure requires more than physical infrastructure. It requires investment in social infrastructure that builds trust and civic life. Social cohesion is one of the most important indicators of resilience. Communities that are resilient prior to a disaster are much more capable of recovering afterward.

 

Project Team: Susan Rogers, Adelle Main, Angélica Lastra, José Mario López, Gabriela Degetau, Constanza Peña, Kaede Polkinghorne

Partners: SSPEED Center, Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Rice University

2019

 

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Government Technology

MetroLab Network Innovation of the Month, April 2019