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Greauxing Resilience at Home — City of Houston, Texas: Resilient Houston and Affordable Housing and Nature-Based Efforts

June 16, 2022

Houston has been battered by six federally declared flooding disasters in five years, including the record-setting Hurricane Harvey in 2017. A significant amount of Houston’s existing development is located in vulnerable floodplains. These land use patterns, combined with recurrent disasters, have served as the impetus for Houston to undertake several related efforts to increase local resilience. The city has thus begun to plan to increase its resilience against future storms. In 2018, the city responded by adding structural elevation requirements in the 500-year floodplain and increasing them for the 100-year floodplain. In addition, the city developed the Resilient Houston plan. If implemented, the proposed recommendations in Resilient Houston will promote affordable housing with access to job centers, improve community resilience through green space preservation, and enhance stormwater management through the promotion of green stormwater infrastructure. Other local governments facing similar threats from disaster events and pressures to develop in floodplains could evaluate and consider adopting some of Houston’s planning and land-use actions. This case study is one of 24 case studies featured in a report written by the Georgetown Climate Center, Greauxing Resilience at Home: A Collection of Lessons and Case Studies from Louisiana and Beyond.

Related Organizations: Georgetown Climate Center

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Greauxing Resilience at Home — City of Austin, Texas: Affordable Housing and Green Infrastructure Efforts

June 16, 2022

Austin’s housing plan and comprehensive plan set forth a vision of the city embodied by sustainability, social equity, and economic opportunity as it prepares for continued growth. To advance these values, Austin is taking an intentional approach to create “complete communities” — compact and connected neighborhoods where daily needs can be met close to where residents live and work. In the realm of affordable housing, this means increasing housing development across the city to maximize access to transit and amenities, rather than keeping affordable housing concentrated in certain areas or isolated on the city’s outskirts. The city’s housing planning is also informed by an environmental element: building affordable housing in compact and connected communities can also reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions associated with traffic congestion and car dependency. On the environmental side, Austin’s various environmental management departments have renewed efforts to collaborate to increase the city’s green infrastructure and update its watershed management plan. These initiatives recognize the need to integrate various programs and agencies in order to establish a more consolidated approach to achieving the city’s environmental goals. This case study is one of 24 case studies featured in a report written by the Georgetown Climate Center, Greauxing Resilience at Home: A Collection of Lessons and Case Studies from Louisiana and Beyond.

Related Organizations: Georgetown Climate Center

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Greauxing Resilience at Home: A Collection of Lessons and Case Studies from Louisiana and Beyond

June 16, 2022

This report is composed of 24 individual case studies developed by Georgetown Climate Center to support, Greauxing Resilience at Home: A Regional Vision, a collaborative partnership effort with Capital Region Planning Commission in Louisiana. These case studies describe best and emerging practices, tools, and examples from Louisiana and other U.S. jurisdictions to make progress on the complex and interrelated challenges of housing, flooding, and resilience. These case studies are intended to provide transferable lessons and ideas for regional and local governments addressing housing and mitigating flood risk as integrated parts of comprehensive community resilience strategies. Collectively, these case studies present a suite, although not an exhaustive list of tools and approaches that can be used to facilitate any of these efforts.

Related Organizations: Georgetown Climate Center

Authors or Affiliated Users: Katie Spidalieri, Suhasini Ghosh, Katherine McCormick, Jennifer Li

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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State of Iowa and State of Texas: Regional Water Planning

May 18, 2022

This entry summarizes some approaches to regional watershed management and flood mitigation in Texas and Iowa. This research was conducted to inform Georgetown Climate Center's work in Louisiana's Region Seven Watershed. 

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Equitable Recovery, Equitable Resilience

August 2020

This white paper from Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) describes the roles that community organizations play in responding to natural disasters, as well as the accomplishments and challenges relating to this work. With natural disasters related to climate change occuring at increasingly frequent rates, community organizations provide critical emergency aid and recovery services. Furthermore, these services can help reduce the recovery gap within communities, as underlying economic, social, and housing factors and public policy decisions create disparities which are exacerbated through natural disasters. Drawing on interviews with various organizations in California, Florida, Puerto Rico, and Texas, this paper reviews the different strategies that these groups use and puts forth some recommendations for policy changes that may be necessary to advance equity in recovery and resilience. 

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Land Acquisition and Restoration Projects in the Greens Bayou Watershed in Harris County, Texas: Greens WetBank and Bayou Greenways 2020

In Texas, Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) and other local partners, including the nonprofit Houston Parks Board, are implementing different land acquisition, restoration, and conservation projects in the Greens Bayou watershed in Harris County and the City of Houston. Two programs and initiatives include the Greens Bayou Mitigation Bank (Greens WetBank) and Bayou Greenways 2020. The Greens WetBank is a wetland mitigation bank on nearly 1,000 acres of land in Harris County, where HCFCD restores wetlands and generates revenue by selling “wetland credits” to developers who need to offset wetland losses at locations outside the Greens WetBank’s land in Harris County. In addition, Bayou Greenways 2020 is a large-scale, public-private initiative led by Houston Parks Board to create 150 miles of greenways and trails and an additional 3,000 acres of public greenspace along Houston’s major bayous through land acquisition and conservation efforts. Bayou Greenways 2020 has been the result of an extensive community engagement campaign and funding leveraged from federal, state, local, and private sources to create local parks and open spaces in Houston. Greens WetBank and Bayou Greenways 2020 are examples of how comprehensive land acquisition, restoration, and conservation actions can increase local resilience in a specific watershed by mitigating future flood risks, enhancing the environment, and creating community assets. Other jurisdictions could consider a similar model to coordinate future land uses in a watershed with climate adaptation, including managed retreat strategies, hazard reduction, and natural resource and open space management. 

Related Organizations: Harris County, Texas, Houston Parks Board

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Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas — City of Austin, Texas: Flood Risk Reduction Buyout Projects

July 15, 2020

The City of Austin, Texas has adopted a model to provide consistent relocation benefits for voluntary home buyouts in the city’s floodplains as a part of its “flood risk reduction projects.” In addition to the cost of a person’s original home, the city will provide homeowners with moving and closing costs, and a replacement housing payment if the cost of a new comparable home (located outside of the city’s 100-year floodplain) is more than the original home. This policy encourages owner participation in the buyout program and helps to minimize the economic and social costs of relocation. The city’s Watershed Protection Department prioritizes buyouts in accordance with a Watershed Protection Master Plan that strategically guides related city actions, including potential buyouts, to reduce the risks associated with erosion, flooding, and poor water quality. A mix of municipal bonds, federal grants, and local funds (primarily through a drainage fee paid by owners of properties based upon impervious surface cover) have been used to fund the buyouts. Austin’s example is noteworthy for its emphasis on implementing buyouts in accordance with a comprehensive flood mitigation program and facilitating transitions for people located in floodplains through relocation assistance. Other jurisdictions considering managed retreat could implement an interdisciplinary buyout approach across different sectors and government agencies (e.g., floodplain and emergency management and housing and community development). .

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Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas — Harris County, Texas: Flood Control District Local Buyout Program

July 15, 2020

Harris County, Texas established a voluntary home buyout program through the regional government agency, the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD), that can serve as an example for other local jurisdictions considering retreat from coastal and riverine flood-prone areas. The buyout program is focused on risk reduction and flood mitigation best practices, where once bought out, properties are returned to open space uses to restore their natural beneficial flood retention functions. HCFCD has developed an effective communication and outreach strategy to educate the public and encourage program participation. Historically, properties have been acquired with grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance program, Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program, and local funding from a dedicated ad valorem property tax (i.e., a tax based on a property’s assessed value). Other state, regional, and local jurisdictions considering managed retreat could implement a similar comprehensive buyout model that operates in both a pre- and post-disaster context to reduce flood risks and engages the community throughout the entire process. This case study is one of 17 case studies featured in a report written by the Georgetown Climate Center, Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas: Lessons and Tools from 17 Case Studies.

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Dallas, Texas Comprehensive Environmental and Climate Action Plan

April 2020

The Dallas Comprehensive Environmental and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) is a roadmap developed by the City of Dallas, Texas, and community stakeholders that outlines steps the city can take to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while enhancing climate resilience. The plan provides an overview of the environmental and climate challenges that Dallas faces, recommends actions to improve the environmental quality of the city, build resilience, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and identifies funding and partnership opportunities to support plan implementation.

Related Organizations: City of Dallas, Texas

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Resilient Houston - City of Houston, Texas Resilience Strategy

February 2020

Related Organizations: City of Houston, Texas, 100 Resilient Cities

Resource Category: Planning

 

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