Natural Disasters and Land Use Planning

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Arthur C. Nelson's presentation for

Roundtable - A National Framework for Natural Hazard Risk Reduction and Management: Developing a Research Agenda

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Natural Disasters and Land Use Planning

  1. 1. Natural Disasters and Land Use Planning Arthur C. Nelson, Ph.D., FAICP Co-Director Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech
  2. 2. Outline <ul><li>The challenge ahead. </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing exposure. </li></ul><ul><li>The planning challenge. </li></ul><ul><li>The role of state hazard planning mandates. </li></ul><ul><li>The promise of planning. </li></ul><ul><li>Next steps. </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Challenge Ahead <ul><li>100 million more Americans by 2040. </li></ul><ul><li>40 million new homes + 30 million rebuilt/replaced homes  likely many millions because of disasters. </li></ul><ul><li>30 billion sq.ft. of new space to meet needs of 60 million new works + 70 billion sq.ft. of rebuilt/replaced space many billions because of disasters. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Increasing Exposure <ul><li>Sustained development in coastal areas subject to wind and flooding. </li></ul><ul><li>Continued development in popular mountain regions. </li></ul><ul><li>Stream and riverfront development. </li></ul><ul><li>Development on or near faults. </li></ul><ul><li>Development in forested and other high- fuel areas. </li></ul><ul><li>People like living where the hazards are. </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Planning Challenge <ul><li>Assess the nature of current exposure. </li></ul><ul><li>Anticipate the nature of future exposure. </li></ul><ul><li>Act to guide development away from certain hazardous areas and plan for development in others to reduce risk. </li></ul><ul><li>Implement plans designed to reduce risk. </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Planning Challenge <ul><li>Not in the fiscal or local “growth machine” interest in reshaping/diverting development. </li></ul><ul><li>Would rather not really know the risks. </li></ul><ul><li>Short-term “electoral” perspective. </li></ul><ul><li>Mostly weak external forces that could instill responsibility. </li></ul>
  7. 7. State Hazard Planning <ul><li>Several states mandate hazard planning elements broadly (i.e., FL, OR, WA, WI) or narrowly (i.e. CA, NC) </li></ul><ul><li>Most states do not: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Most states do not mandate planning. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Most states with mandated planning do not review for consistency with planning criteria. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Most states that mandate planning with state review do not or are lax in enforcement. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Promise of Planning <ul><li>Burby et al.  Mapping and enforcement reduces flooding damage. </li></ul><ul><li>Burby, Nelson & French  Strong factual base reduces earthquake damage. </li></ul><ul><li>Burby, Nelson & Sanchez  Constrained landscapes increase damage. </li></ul><ul><li>Burby et al.  State mandates reduce damage per capita controlling for factors. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Next Steps <ul><li>Lobby states for enforceable state hazard planning mandates? </li></ul><ul><li>Increased insurance industry pressure through rates, decisions even to insure, community rating schemes (ISO), education? </li></ul><ul><li>Federal “incentive” to states that mandate hazard planning? </li></ul>

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