Climate Change Preparedness: Comparing Future Urban Growth and Flood Risk in Amsterdam and Houston
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Rising sea levels and coastal population growth will increase flood risk of more people and assets if land use changes are not planned adequately. This research examines the efficacy of flood protection systems and land use planning by comparing Amsterdam in the Netherlands (renown for resilience planning methods), with the city of Houston, Texas in the US (seeking ways of increasing resilience due to extreme recent flooding). It assesses flood risk of future urban growth in lieu of sea level rise using the Land Transformation Model, a Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-based Artificial Neural Network (ANN) land use prediction tool. Findings show that Houston has currently developed much more urban area within high-risk flood-prone zones compared to Amsterdam. When comparing predicted urban areas under risk, flood-prone future urban areas in Amsterdam are also relatively smaller than Houston. Finally, the increased floodplain when accounting for sea level rise will impact existing and future urban areas in Houston, but do not increase risk significantly in Amsterdam. The results suggest that the protective infrastructure used in the Netherlands has protected its future urban growth from sea level rise more adequately than has Houston.
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