About

About This Project

Flood Aerial

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Funded by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Gulf Research Program

In recent decades, Gulf Coast communities have dealt with more frequent and severe impacts from climate sensitive hazards, extreme weather and human-caused disasters. The capacity to recover from these disasters can vary from one community to the next, depending on a range of social, economic, environmental and other factors. Chronically stressed communities can find the path to recovery particularly difficult.

When choosing where to live or buy a home, people often weigh the quality of the schools, crime rates, cost and property values into their buying equation. Rarely do they think about disaster risk, mostly because there is no easy way to do so.

Furthermore, many residents are unaware that the building codes and zoning regulations they expect to protect them in a disaster have likely become outdated as environmental stressors, local development patterns and construction practices have changed over time.

This project, funded by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Gulf Research Program, hopes to change that. The goal of this project is to help people make smarter housing decisions based on hazard risks and mitigation of those risks.

The idea isn’t to limit where people should live based on potential risk, rather to give renters and buyers a more complete picture of potential hazards and what it would take to protect a property against those risks, such as hurricanes, sea rise and sink holes, among other threats. Hazard and risk information is voluminous if you know where to look and understand how to read it, but can be confusing and time consuming for busy buyers to undertake.

To help solve this, The New First Line of Defense project team will gather hazard and risk information, analyze past, present, and future threats to homes and communities, and create a rating system or HazardScore for every parcel of land, community, county and state in the gulf region. The team will also attempt to gain a better understanding of how people access and use risk information to make housing location and mitigation decisions and will work to build tools to benefit people of every socio-economic class not just focused on often costly mitigation activities, but also provide information on what people can do to mitigate natural hazards with no $$ but only small investments in time.

Through the process, the team will develop easy-to-use tools such as apps, maps and websites, which owners, renters, and potential buyers could use to explore and become more “hazard aware,” This would allow all residents to easily see what a property’s HazardScore is and quickly understand how to mitigate any threats a home might be subjected to before making a final decision on where to live or gaining perspective on how to mitigate hazard threats in their current residence.

About This Team

The team behind this project is comprised of a group of scientists from 9 different institutions, distributed along the Gulf Coast and beyond, and with a wide variety of scientific backgrounds:

Sergio Alvarez

Sergio Alvarez

University of Central Florida

Statistics, Econometrics, policy development/analysis

Jacopo Baggio

Jacopo Baggio

University of Central Florida

Agent based modeling, behavioral experiments, network analysis

Chris Emrich

Chris Emrich (Project Leader)

University of Central Florida

Risk/vulnerability/resilience assessment

Kristy Lewis

Kristy Lewis

University of Central Florida

Coastal resource/ecological modeling, anthropogenic influences

Sonia Stephens

Sonia Stephens

University of Central Florida

Scientific/technical communication, user-centered design

Thomas Wahl

Thomas Wahl

University of Central Florida

Compound flooding, sea-level rise, extreme events

Colin Polsky

Colin Polsky

Florida Atlantic University

Multi-method vulnerability assessment design, sea-level rise resilience, business community engagement

William O’Dell

William O’Dell

University of Florida

Affordable housing policy/program development

Melissa Daigle

Melissa Daigle

Louisiana Sea Grant

Coastal and environmental law, resilience, flood insurance, legal research

Niki Pace

Niki Pace

Louisiana Sea Grant

Ocean/coastal and environmental law, floodplain management, disaster law, resilience, legal research

Jim Wilkins

Jim Wilkins

Louisiana Sea Grant

Environmental law, fisheries and wildlife law, ocean and coastal resources law

Monica Teets Farris

Monica Teets Farris

University of New Orleans

Mitigation, floodplain management, outreach, NFIP/CRS

Carol Friedland

Carol Friedland

Louisiana State University

Civil engineering, hazard resistant construction

Susan Cutter

Susan Cutter

University of South Carolina

Resilience/vulnerability metrics, hazards geography

Tamara Sheldon

Tamara Sheldon

University of South Carolina

Environmental economics, choice modeling

Melanie Gall

Melanie Gall (Project Leader)

Arizona State University

Hazard losses, mitigation/adaptation planning

Abigail Henderson

Abby Henderson

Arizona State University

Applied research, program evaluation, data analysis, community development, survey research design

Natasha Mendoza

Natasha Mendoza

Arizona State University

Behavioral health, decision making, vulnerable populations

Kelly Klima

Kelly Klima

Rand Corporation

Resilience, Emergency preparedness, hazard mitigation

Michelle Miro

Michelle Miro

Rand Corporation

Water resources management, environmental sustainability

Benjamin Preston

Benjamin Preston

Rand Corporation

Climate adaptation, social vulnerability

Research performed in this project is supported by the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine under the Grant Agreement number 2000010880.

Disclaimer: "The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Gulf Research Program or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine."