flexiblefullpage
billboard
interstitial1
catfish1
Currently Reading

Houston’s buyout program has prevented flood damage but many more homes at risk

Resiliency

Houston’s buyout program has prevented flood damage but many more homes at risk

City’s long-running managed retreat from river has demolished 600 houses


By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | June 3, 2024
Image by frankols from Pixabay - Houston’s buyout program has prevented flood damage but many more homes at risk

Image by frankols from Pixabay

Recent flooding in Houston has increased focus on a 30-year-old program to buy out some of the area’s most vulnerable homes.

Storms dropped 23 inches of rain on parts of southeast Texas, leading to thousands of homes being flooded in low-lying neighborhoods around Houston. Much of the worst flooding happened near the San Jacinto River, an area that has engaged in “managed retreat” for about 30 years—among the longest-running such programs in the country.

This approach to flood mitigation involves buying out homeowners located within the most at-risk areas, demolishing the homes, and often, returning the lots to their natural state. Harris County has purchased roughly 600 flood-prone homes along the river, most of which would have flooded during the recent storm.  The county has targeted more than 1,600 more homes to buy, but it hasn’t yet been able to raise funds and get property owners on board.

The recent flooding shows that nature isn’t waiting for officials and homeowners to act, and it illustrates the urgency of preventing future disasters by relocating people from the most vulnerable areas.

Related Stories

Resiliency | May 24, 2024

As temperatures underground rise, so do risks to commercial buildings

Heat created by underground structures is increasing the risk of damage to buildings, recent studies have found. Basements, train tunnels, sewers, and other underground systems are making the ground around them warmer, which causes soil, sand, clay and silt to shift, settle, contract, and expand.

Adaptive Reuse | May 15, 2024

Modular adaptive reuse of parking structure grants future flexibility

The shift away from excessive parking requirements aligns with a broader movement, encouraging development of more sustainable and affordable housing.

MFPRO+ News | May 10, 2024

HUD strengthens flood protection rules for new and rebuilt residential buildings

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued more stringent flood protection requirements for new and rebuilt homes that are developed with, or financed with, federal funds. The rule strengthens standards by increasing elevations and flood-proofing requirements of new properties in areas at risk of flooding. 

K-12 Schools | Apr 30, 2024

Fully electric Oregon elementary school aims for resilience with microgrid design

The River Grove Elementary School in Oregon was designed for net-zero carbon and resiliency to seismic events, storms, and wildfire. The roughly 82,000-sf school in a Portland suburb will feature a microgrid—a small-scale power grid that operates independently from the area’s electric grid. 

Resiliency | Apr 22, 2024

Controversy erupts in Florida over how homes are being rebuilt after Hurricane Ian

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently sent a letter to officials in Lee County, Florida alleging that hundreds of homes were rebuilt in violation of the agency’s rules following Hurricane Ian. The letter provoked a sharp backlash as homeowners struggle to rebuild following the devastating 2022 storm that destroyed a large swath of the county.

Codes and Standards | Apr 8, 2024

Boston’s plans to hold back rising seawater stall amid real estate slowdown

Boston has placed significant aspects of its plan to protect the city from rising sea levels on the actions of private developers. Amid a post-Covid commercial development slump, though, efforts to build protective infrastructure have stalled.

Codes and Standards | Mar 18, 2024

New urban stormwater policies treat rainwater as a resource

U.S. cities are revamping how they handle stormwater to reduce flooding and capture rainfall and recharge aquifers. New policies reflect a change in mindset from treating stormwater as a nuisance to be quickly diverted away to capturing it as a resource.

Building Tech | Feb 20, 2024

Construction method featuring LEGO-like bricks wins global innovation award

A new construction method featuring LEGO-like bricks made from a renewable composite material took first place for building innovations at the 2024 JEC Composites Innovation Awards in Paris, France.

Sponsored | BD+C University Course | Jan 17, 2024

Waterproofing deep foundations for new construction

This continuing education course, by Walter P Moore's Amos Chan, P.E., BECxP, CxA+BE, covers design considerations for below-grade waterproofing for new construction, the types of below-grade systems available, and specific concerns associated with waterproofing deep foundations.

Concrete | Jan 12, 2024

Sustainable concrete reduces carbon emissions by at least 30%

Designed by Holcim, a building materials supplier, ECOPact offers a sustainable concrete alternative that not only meets, but exceeds the properties of standard concrete.

boombox1
boombox2
native1

More In Category




halfpage1

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021