Coastal Flood Risk Reduction Program: Integrated, multi-scale approaches for understanding how to reduce vulnerability to damaging events

National Science Foundation Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE)

Overview of project

Coastal floods are the most costly, disruptive, and life-threatening hazard worldwide. The negative impacts of these storm events are increasing in the United States (U.S.) and abroad.  In response to this growing problem, this project will establish a research and education program on coastal Flood Risk Reduction (FRRP) between the U.S. and the Netherlands.  This international collaboration will support excellence in research and learning across the engineering and management sciences, leading to new knowledge that will transform the way floods are dealt with in the U.S and around the world.  Recognizing that now, more than ever, scientific innovation is needed to better understand the causes and consequences of coastal flooding, this project will bring together the world’s top researchers to generate new solutions that will help local decision makers reduce loss of both property and human lives in the future.

Multiple case studies in both countries integrating faculty from engineering, architecture, economics, and planning will address several research questions, including: 1) what are the underlying characteristics of physical flood risks; 2) why are human communities and the built environment so vulnerable to flood impacts, and how will this increase in the future; and 3) which mitigation techniques, both structural and non-structural, are most effective in reducing the adverse impacts of floods? Within each study region in the U.S. and the Netherlands, six sub-case study focal points will be initiated covering both surge-based and precipitation-driven flood problems. Each case will provide a target area for interdisciplinary assessments of physical flood risk and modeling, socioeconomic characteristics, land use change and built environment, and mitigation techniques. The effectiveness of both structural and non-structural strategies will be investigated, leading to a better understanding of when to pursue avoidance and resistance strategies for mitigating adverse impacts from flood events. An integral part of the project will be an educational component, where interdisciplinary, binational teams of students conduct place-based assessments within the six case studies. Graduate and undergraduate students will be recruited from all participating campuses, placed in interdisciplinary teams, guided by project faculty, and travel to one of the six research sites to conduct case study analysis. Another major component of the FRRP will be the collection, storage, and dissemination of data related to coastal flood issues, which will be hosted on a server network spanning multiple institutions so that information can be downloaded by participants.

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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