Open space protection and flood mitigation: A national study Academic Article uri icon


  • Open space protection is increasingly being used for flood mitigation at the local level. However, little if any empirical research has been conducted on the effectiveness of this land use policy in terms of reducing actual damage caused by floods. Our study addresses this issue by statistically examining the performance of open space dedicated for flood mitigation purposes across a nationally representative sample of local jurisdictions. We measure the amount of open space protection designated under FEMA's Community Rating System (CRS) program for 450 local communities, and then test the degree to which this strategy reduces insured flood damages over an eleven-year period from 1999 to 2009. Results indicate that, even when controlling for environmental, socioeconomic, and policy-related variables, open space protection is an important land use planning tool for mitigating the adverse impacts of flood events in the U.S. Our findings provide insights for local planners and decision makers interested in pursuing an avoidance strategy of flood mitigation, where people and structures are essentially removed from the most vulnerable locations. 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 13

author list (cited authors)

  • Brody, S. D., & Highfield, W. E.

citation count

  • 68

complete list of authors

  • Brody, Samuel D||Highfield, Wesley E

publication date

  • May 2013