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Re:CAP Recommends | How Houston applied lessons from previous storms, and can continue long term

September 15, 2017

Re:CAP Recommends: How Houston applied lessons from previous storms, and can continue long term by Janae Ladet for the Urban Institute

What: In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, it has become clear that long-term planning played a prominent role in mitigating the negative effects of the storm on Houston. The city avoided many pitfalls of a failed evacuation, worked to protect critical infrastructure, and made sure there was adequate shelter for displaced residents. Enabling this effective administration, Houston used long-term planning to learn from mistakes made in previous natural disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. The planning community should now look to Houston to ensure that further lessons are learned.

Takeaway:  With a "rapidly changing climate", the US will need to contend with an increasing number of major natural disasters. To minimize the disruptive effects of these storms, long-term planning will become increasingly important. Preparation for, administration during, and rebuilding after hurricanes are all intricate processes involving many levels of government and nonprofit assistance. Long-term preparation not only enables the readiness of procedures and resources, but also supports the rational, evidence-based leadership needed to make important, difficult decisions. Long-term planning was applied in Houston, and while the storm still caused massive destruction evidence is building that such planning has helped Houston avoid further disaster.

Janae Ladet is received her MPA from the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently a research associate in the Urban Institute’s Policy Advisory Group. She supports the JPMorgan Chase collaboration and other cross-disciplinary policy initiatives. Ladet works across policy centers with researchers on projects related to affordable housing, community development, workforce development, and financial opportunity.

Contact Information

Fels Institute of Government
University of Pennsylvania
3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-2600
Fax: (215) 746-2829

felsinstitute@sas.upenn.edu