Climate Change Adaptation Panel: Moderator

Today, I had the privilege of moderating a great panel, Climate Change Adaptation: Communities at a Crossroad, for the 6th annual Climate Change and Resilience Symposium hosted by UNC’s school of public health. A quick description of the panel is below:

“With the Communities at a Crossroad panel, we will hear from academics and practitioners engaged with planning for hazards and climate change in North Carolina. These panelists have diverse experience in academia, planning consultancy firms, and local governments; their work to support local communities offers valuable lessons learned for communities facing a shifting environment in the era of climate change.”

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ASFPM Foundation 9th Annual Collegiate Student Paper Competition: Semifinalist

Recently, the abstract for a paper that I wrote with a fellow PhD student, Jordan Branham, was accepted as a semi-finalist for the ASFPM Foundation’s 9th  Annual Collegiate Student Paper Competition. We will be editing the paper for submission in April, and presenting on the topic in May; after which the first, second, and third place entries will be selected. The abstract is included below:

Abstract:

The effects of sea level rise and an increased propensity for major precipitation events caused by global climate change are expected to drive a dramatic reduction in the availability of habitable coastal land and induce population migrations away from particularly vulnerable areas (Allen et al. 2018; R. A. McLeman 2011). However, there is little understanding of how changing risk exposure influences individual decisions to relocate or the thresholds at which these decisions are made (Black, Adger, and Arnell 2013; Bardsley and Hugo 2010). In this paper, we seek to understand how the interaction of different scales of hazard events impact population change over time. To do this, we focus on exposure and vulnerability to flooding events. These events can range from repetitive ‘nuisance’ flooding caused by light weather to storm surges and severe rainfall precipitated by major hurricanes.

We address this research question by examining how minor and major floods between 1990 and 2016 impacted population movements during the same time period in North Carolina. Our study area is home to both coastal and riverine flood hazard areas, affording us the opportunity to tease out the marginal effects of flood vulnerability, exposure to disaster in the form of hurricanes, and the combination of these two factors on population change. Specifically, we use disaster declarations to quantify exposure to major disasters and define a census tract’s vulnerability based on the proportion of buildings within floodplains. Our analysis employs multiple regression with an interaction term in order to assess how our key explanatory variables individually and collectively influence population growth, while controlling for a number of mediating factors such as demographics, economic indicators, geography, and population trajectories.

Our findings suggest that populations have differential responses to environmental risks based on geography, particularly when compounded by joint exposure to both major and repetitive events. More specifically, while coastal communities have experienced significant population growth despite high levels of flood vulnerability, those subareas that are exposed to multiple disasters possess a negative relationship with population growth, suggesting that major disasters can act as focusing events that trigger population shifts (Birkland 1997). Comparatively, it appears that areas subjected to riverine-based flood risk are inclined to population loss in reaction to moderate risk, but less reactive to major events. We expect that these risk-responses will become more pronounced in the era of climate change as both major and minor flood events become more common and out-migration becomes self-supporting. Further, as population loss leads to reduced community resilience, the potential for the rise of non-linear migration exoduses will continue to increase (R. McLeman and Smit 2006; Massey et al. 1993). Therefore, while this study produces important initial findings, it is also presents a methodology that can continue to be used for a more rigorous longitudinal review that will be possible with future Census data.

Impacts of the Government Shutdown on HUD Programs: Blog Post

I wrote a new blog post for Carolina Angles on the impact of the government shutdown on HUD programs, with an emphasis on the impact in North Carolina. An excerpt is included below:

On January 4th, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a memorandum intended to explain how payments will proceed to Assisted Property Owners who provide affordable housing units to families across the United States. They assured owners that, while the Department’s spending authority expired on December 21st, interim activities would continue for the first thirty business days. This would include payments for Section 8 contracts, rent supplement contracts, Section 236 agreements, and Project Rental Assistance Contracts (PRAC), among others, “on an as needed basis to ensure ongoing viability of assets and preservation of affordable housing…contingent on budget authority being available from prior year appropriations or recaptures.” It was not immediately clear if or how that would continue past the thirty-day mark, possibly because, at that time, it seemed unlikely we would surpass it [1].

Read more at Carolina Angles

Photo credit: Joseph Prezioso / AFP / Getty Images

Planning for 36 Hours in New Orleans, LA: Blog Post

Recently, I established a quick travel series for the Carolina Angles planning blog, which gives a quick look at fun haunts from the perspective of planning students and professionals. To kick off the series, I wrote a post on New Orleans, LA, where I lived for multiple years during my undergraduate education. An excerpt is included below:

About the series: Welcome to our ongoing travel series. These are all posts written by planning students and professionals about what to do in a given city when looking for Brunch, a Brew, or a good idea on a Budget. To cap it all off, we include a fun planning fact!

About the visit: I lived in New Orleans for five years during my undergraduate program and absolutely fell in love with this city. I can never go back as often as I like, but recently returned for a friend’s wedding. Here are some of my favorite haunts and top recommendations

Read more at Carolina Angles

What You Need to Know About the California Camp Fire: Blog Post

I recently authored a blog post for Carolina Angles on the ongoing California Camp Fire. An excerpt is included below:

The Camp Fire, named after Camp Creek Road near where it originated, has been burning since November 8, 2018. It is the worst wildfire in California’s history; this is not simply a state tragedy, but a national one. Furthermore, it is one that speaks to the unmeasured cost of climate change, which includes damage to environmental resources, expenditure of emergency resources, loss of built capital, loss of lives, and adverse impacts to long-term health.

The Camp Fire is the deadliest California wildfire on record, with over 70 individuals confirmed dead, and hundreds still missing. The next deadliest wildfire in California history was in 1933 and saw the loss of 29 lives. It has also been the most destructive wildfire in California’s history, with the loss of over 15,000 structures so far. The next most destructive wildfire saw the destruction of 5,636 structures. Over 100,000 people have been displaced.

Read more at Carolina Angles

ACSP 2018: Presenter

I presented on a topic that looked at how repeat events were related to disaster exposure.

There are communities inland within North Carolina that are inherently vulnerable. As climate change progresses, they will be at risk of disaster events with increasing frequency. Due to this, and due to vulnerable development, some of these communities will become obsolete, and their citizens will become climate refugees.

In the context of Hurricane Matthew: we have some understanding on why communities, and the individuals within them, choose to pursue buyout
programs. However, our understanding of why individuals mitigate in place is less certain. But, it is quite possible that physical characteristics of place, particularly the natural characteristics of the towns, play a significant role.

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Modern Conspiracy: Panelist

Piscataway Park was the first park in the nation established to conserve a viewshed. It is across the Potomac River from Mount Vernon, George Washington’s ancestral home, and was protect the view from his porch, so that it might maintain the look of the region familiar to his time and era. It also encompasses an area known as the Moyaone Reserve, a semi-planned community with restrictive planning regulations, designed to safeguard a

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Resilient Design Education Report: Contributor

The Resilient Design Education Report: Current and Emerging Curricula in the Colleges and Universities was an analysis on how resilient design is taught, and how widespread the tutelage of this sub-field is. The study focused on five design-based disciplines: architecture, building sciences, engineering, landscape architecture, and planning. It utilized a structured internet search, key informant interviews, and five case studies of programs that focused on resilient design education. 

Carolina Angles: Head Editor

The Carolina Planning Journal (CPJ), based out of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill’s Department of City and Regional Planning, is the oldest student-run planning journal in the country, with over four decades of history. It is designed and developed to share the work of practitioners, academics, and advanced students and to further conversations around planning locally as well as globally.

It is run in conjuncture with Carolina Angles, an associated blog providing regular updates of planning thoughts that range from serious to silly. It was developed to allow for quicker reactions to ongoing events, to act as a platform to amplify the thoughts of students and professionals alike, and to reach out to and engage a broader audience. I have been on the editorial board for both the blog and the journal since I began by PhD. Now, I am transitioning to the head editor of the Carolina Angles blog.