PIRE- Coastal Flood Risk Reduction Program: Integrated, Multi-Scale Approaches for Understanding How to Reduce Vulnerability to Damaging Events
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Coastal floods continue to be the costliest and most disruptive natural hazard worldwide. Flood risk and associated losses can only be understood and eventually reduced through integrated investigation across multiple disciplines, settings, and internationalboundaries. There is a critical need for a program-level, trans-disciplinary inquiry in science and engineering that will lay a foundation for decision making aimed at increasing the resiliency of coastal communities. This Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) project takes a comprehensive, multiscale approach to understanding how to reduce risk and vulnerability to damaging coastal floods. By drawing upon knowledge from multiple disciplines and the experience and expertise of partner institutions in Texas and the Netherlands, the PIRE team will pursue six identified case study approaches to cover both surge-based and precipitation-driven flood problems. Each case entails integrated assessment, research, and education activities focused on physical flood risk and modeling, as well as understanding socioeconomic characteristics, land use change, the built environment, and mitigation techniques.Multiple case studies in both countries integrating faculty from engineering, architecture, economics, and planning will address several research questions, including: 1) what are the underlying characteristics of physical flood risks; 2) why are human communities and the built environment so vulnerable to flood impacts, and how will this increase in the future; and 3) which mitigation techniques, both structural and non-structural, are most effective in reducing the adverse impacts of floods? Within each study region in the U.S. and the Netherlands, six sub-case study focal points will be initiated covering both surge-based and precipitation-driven flood problems. Each case will provide a target area for interdisciplinary assessments of physical flood risk and modeling, socioeconomic characteristics, land use change and built environment, and mitigation techniques. The effectiveness of both structural and non-structural strategies will be investigated, leading to a better understanding of when to pursue avoidance and resistance strategies for mitigating adverse impacts from flood events. The FRRP will crystalize an existing collaboration consisting of seven participating institutions with 25 faculty supervising dozens of students. Key U.S. partners include Jackson State University, Rice University, TAMU College Station and Galveston, University of Houston, and TX Sea Grant. Dutch partners will include Delft University of Technology and Deltares. U.S. researchers will be able to leverage Dutch data, methods, and facilities associated with flood management.