Briefcase: Land Use Planning After Harvey

Guest: Professor Blake Hudson



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Of the more than 100,000 homes severely damaged by Hurricane Harvey, many were located in flood plains – zones that rarely flooded in the past and where homeowners were not required to carry flood insurance. Professor Blake Hudson with the University of Houston Law Center spoke about Houston's approach to land use planning.

"Houston has, historically, been reticent to regulate land uses stringently," Hudson said. "However, as flooding and other climate change-related disaster events increase, there must be a change in city planning. Building residential and commercial structures in floodplains is no longer sustainable. Land use planning must change, if Houston is to avoid the worst climate impacts."

Professor Hudson explained ways progress can be made. "Since land use planning occurs primarily at the local level, citizens' participation is integral to the types of policies that are needed – perhaps more than in any other regulatory sphere," he said. "By becoming more engaged in the land use planning process, Houstonians can have a direct impact on changing, rapidly, the landscapes increasingly affected by climate change."