Research, Education, & Outreach

Research Framework

An integrated research framework provides a basis for joint inquiry and overall conceptual structure for the FRR program. Three issue domains: Environmental/Physical, Built, and Socioeconomic interact to form a fourth system we call Flood Risk Reduction. Inquiry under the Environmental/Physical domain will help understand the baseline conditions and boundaries for each coastal case study and will include: storm surge models, hydraulic models, sediment transport, and the overall erosion dynamics of coastal systems. This research will help identify the boundary conditions for the built, social, and economic systems in place. Investigation within the Socioeconomic issue domain will consist of direct and indirect economic analyses, losses avoided studies, and cost-benefit analysis. Understanding the degree to which communities are socially vulnerable to flooding is also an import line of research that will be addressed. Social and economic systems will also impact environmental and physical systems via population growth, a larger workforce, etc. Finally, inquiry taking place within the Built Environment issue domain will focus on how land use change analysis, development patterns, and public infrastructure contribute to flood risk and associated losses. Development design and visualization is also an important aspect, as it will help incorporate aesthetics and specific development configurations into the research. Alteration of the coastal landscape through development will also impact the Environmental/Physical and Socioeconomic domains through the spread of impervious surfaces, alteration of naturally occurring wetlands, etc.

Research Framework

Interactive inquiry across all three issue domains will lead to various Flood Risk Reduction solutions. This final domain involves the generation of mitigation techniques specific to each case study, encompassing resistance, avoidance, structural, and non-structural interventions. We are particularly interested in investigating FRR programs that involve a synergistic set of different techniques (i.e. structural and non-structural measures working in concert). This integrated framework will help program participants see beyond their single discipline and work on flood problems in a more comprehensive manner.
The research framework described above will provide the structure for joint inquiry across multiple institutions and international boundaries. Within each study region in the U.S. and the Netherlands, six sub-case studies will be initiated covering both surge-based and precipitation-driven flood problems (see Figure 2 below). Each case will provide a target area for interdisciplinary research and education on physical flood risk, socioeconomic characteristics, built environment patterns, and mitigation techniques.


An integral part of the PIRE FRR program will be the educational component, where interdisciplinary, binational teams of students conduct place-based assessments within the 6 case studies designated above. The primary goal of the program will be to create “authentic learning environments” that both support and benefit from the research components.
Each case study site acts as a focal point for place-based assessments and the development of authentic learning environments. Graduate and undergraduate students will be recruited from all participating campuses, placed in interdisciplinary teams, guided by project faculty (at least one from the U.S. and one from TU Delft), and travel to one of the six research sites to conduct an intensive case study analysis.

Information Dissemination and Outreach

Another major component of the FRRP will be the collection, storage, and dissemination of both primary and secondary data related to coastal flood issues. These data will be hosted on a server network spanning multiple institutions so that information can be downloaded by participating students and faculty. Each participating institution will establish a “data sharing node,” which will consist of one or several workstations that will be directly linked to the FRR program’s central data server.

Education, Information Dissemination, and Outreach Framework

For questions about the Center:

Dr. Sam Brody
Ocean and Coastal Studies Building
1001 Texas Clipper Rd
Galveston, TX 77551
Bldg. 3029, Room 366
Phone (409) 740-4939
Fax (409) 740-4429

For media/meeting coordination:

Sarah Reinert
Communication Coordinator
Phone (817) 888-0002

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