Planning prof, Academies group seek to reduce urban flooding

Sam Brody

A group of scientists that includes Sam Brody, professor of urban planning at Texas A&M, has been tasked by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to learn the causes and extent of the nation's urban flooding problems, a growing concern in the Houston/Galveston region and many cities across the nation.

During the 18-month project, “Urban Flooding in the United States,” Brody, a nationally known authority on environmental planning, and 11 fellow members of a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committee will gather flood-related data from agencies responsible for flood control, response, recovery and mitigation in 3 to 8 metropolitan areas yet to be determined.

The National Academies is a group of prominent science and technology experts who provide nonpartisan, objective guidance for decision makers on pressing topics.  

The committee, composed of social, natural and physical scientists, will ultimately produce a report for FEMA and federal legislators that identifies the scope of flooding, effective flooding mitigation strategies, unexpected recovery issues, and similarities and differences in flooding events in the project’s selected areas.

In the report, scientists will also identify the damage that flooding does to infrastructure, human life and property.

Brody, recently named a Texas A&M Presidential Impact Fellow by university president Michael K. Young, has a joint appointment to Texas A&M University at Galveston where he is holder of the George P. Mitchell ’40 Endowed Chair in Sustainable Coasts in the Department of Marine Sciences. He is also a 2016 Texas A&M University System Regents Professor and director of the university’s Center for Texas Beaches and Shores.

Researchers at the CTBS, established in 1993 by the Texas Legislature, develop comprehensive, holistic methods to conserve the Texas shoreline, bays and waterways with approaches that utilize a mix of natural, economic and political processes.

His coastal environmental planning, flood and natural hazards mitigation research findings have been published in numerous scientific journals and in 2011 he authored “Rising Waters: The Causes and Consequences of Flooding in the United States.” 

In addition to teaching graduate courses in environmental planning and sustainable/resilient coastal development, he works in the public and private sectors to help local coastal communities develop environmental and flood mitigation plans. 

posted March 23, 2017