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Urban flood buyouts are fracturing some Houston neighborhoods more than others

Since the 1980s, the federally backed home buyout program has been used to move more than 40,000 households out of flood-prone areas. What began as an effort to help farmers weather the devastating impacts of flooding has become a tool for urban and suburban homeowners to escape risks that the National Academy of Sciences says are severe and growing worse. Yet as logical as this policy sounds, a new study from sociologists at Rice and Temple finds it may also be eroding the social fabric of some communities more than others—especially those with lower home values and higher proportions of Black and Hispanic residents. 

Urban Edge: Jul 12, 2021
Housing, Hurricane Harvey, Urban Disparity

Despite increasing risk in Harris County, more people are living in the flood plains

The Kinder Institute for Urban Research’s 2021 State of Housing in Harris County and Houston highlights new data showing an increase in occupied housing units in the 100- and 500-year flood plains from 2018 to 2019. In Harris County, for example, about 2,000 homes were newly occupied—by either renters or homeowners—in the flood plains in 2019. Kinder researchers hope to better understand these development patterns, which can leave Houstonians vulnerable to flooding.

Urban Edge: Jul 7, 2021
Housing, Hurricane Harvey

As we worked to corral COVID-19, traffic deaths spun out of control

There were 3,896 traffic deaths in Texas last year, 273 more than in 2019. That 7.5% increase followed year-over-year decreases in motor vehicle fatalities from 2017–19, and is the biggest jump since 2012. Traffic fatalities in Harris County went up by almost 19% last year.

That’s despite the fact that we were driving far less, or so it seemed.

News Story
: Jul 1, 2021
COVID-19 and Cities, Transportation