Retrofitting Urban Flood Resilience: An Investigation and Evaluation of Current Strategies

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Harper, J. D.
DSM; Flood; Resilience; Retrofit; Urban
thesis / dissertation description
There are two trends that are creating a worldwide crisis. Firstly, cities are growing denser every day, and many of the major cities developed along the coasts or with adjacencies to water, stemming from a thriving trade industry and industrialization. On a separate track, the effects of global climate change are projected to increase sea level along with the frequency and intensity of flooding disasters. Therefore, these projections are placing cities at a highly vulnerable crux with few foreseeable solutions in sight.In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) were redrawn, and buildings that previously were not in the floodplain were suddenly faced with insurance premiums from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Guides have been developed by organizations such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA), offering strategies for retrofitting flood-resistant design for single-family and non-residential buildings, but there is a gap in the knowledge of how to apply the existing strategies to buildings in a dense urban landscape. Cities face distinct challenges when absorbing and recovering from flooding disasters, especially as some were not designed for disaster preparedness of such events. Viable solutions must then be adaptable specifically for urban settings.Through this investigation, a methodology was developed to evaluate the existing retrofitting flood-resilient strategies appropriate for dense urban areas. The methodology was then tested by applying the strategies to a case study building. The results of the application determined gaps in the current knowledge and provided information to propose recommendations for future research.