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A Citizen-Contributed GIS Approach for Evaluating the Impacts of Land Use on Hurricane-Harvey-Induced Flooding in Houston Area

Department of Geography, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
Land Use and Environmental Change Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
School of Public Administration, National Center for Integrated Coastal Research, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816, USA
Beijing Key Laboratory of Precision Forestry, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing100083, China
The Weather Company, IBM, Atlanta, GA 30319, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 November 2018 / Revised: 19 January 2019 / Accepted: 22 January 2019 / Published: 28 January 2019
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Hurricane Harvey (2017) caused widespread flash flooding by extremely heavy rainfall and resulted in tremendous damage, including 82 fatalities and huge economic loss in the Houston, Texas area. To reduce hazards, loss, and to improve urban resilience, it is important to understand the factors that influence the occurrence of flooding events. People rely on natural resources and different land uses to reduce the severity of flood impacts and mitigate the risk. In this study, we focused the impacts of land use on Hurricane-Harvey-induced flooding inside and outside the Houston city center. With the recent trend that more citizen scientists serve in delivering information about natural disaster response, local residents in Houston areas participated in delineating the flooded areas in Hurricane Harvey. The flooding information used here generated a published map with citizen-contributed flooding data. A regional model framework with spatial autocovariates was employed to understand those interactions. Different land use patterns and types affected the potential of flooding events differently inside and outside Houston’s city center. Explicitly, we found agricultural and open space were associated with high risk of flooding outside the city center, industrial lands increased the high risk of flooding in city center, and residential areas reduced the potential of flooding both inside and outside the city center. The results can assist with future land use strategy in Houston and other areas, and mitigate potential flash flooding. This study also highlighted the contribution of citizen science to responses to natural hazards. View Full-Text
Keywords: land use; Hurricane Harvey; flooding; citizen science; spatial model; Houston land use; Hurricane Harvey; flooding; citizen science; spatial model; Houston

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Yang, D.; Yang, A.; Qiu, H.; Zhou, Y.; Herrero, H.; Fu, C.-S.; Yu, Q.; Tang, J. A Citizen-Contributed GIS Approach for Evaluating the Impacts of Land Use on Hurricane-Harvey-Induced Flooding in Houston Area. Land 2019, 8, 25.

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