Collections > Master's Papers > Department of City and Regional Planning > A Land Suitability Analysis for Post-Disaster Housing Relocation: An Application in Fair Bluff, North Carolina after Hurricane Matthew
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After major floods in the U.S., homeowners who are eligible will often take money through federal government programs (and others) to have their home demolished, the property permanently kept undeveloped as open space, and the opportunity to relocate to a more desirable area, thus reducing future flood damages (a form of ‘hazard mitigation’). When more than just a few households leave a neighborhood or dozens to hundreds leave a municipality, a number of challenges and issues can arise (i.e., property tax and utility revenue loss, disconnected communities, a “checkerboard effect” of vacant and occupied properties, etc.). Major floods or disasters introduce an urgent and critical need to find safe, permanent locations for families to move to after the temporary shelters or housing assistance expire. Projected areas of future growth or development guided through comprehensive planning efforts often fails to take into account the risk associated with known hazardous areas. After a disaster, a geographic information systems (GIS)-based land suitability analysis (LSA), like the one used for this project, can be used to identify and prioritize the most appropriate areas for development or redevelopment outside of hazardous areas that are also within the community and close to existing infrastructure. Here, I describe the methods and results of an LSA that was conducted as part of a Relocation Strategy for the Town of Fair Bluff, North Carolina, a community being assisted by the Hurricane Matthew Disaster Recovery and Resilience Initiative (HMDRRI). The LSA identifies over 100 properties in Fair bluff with the ‘highest’ suitability for development and redevelopment that would alleviate some of the negative effects described above and meet larger recovery planning goals. Along with continual improvements, the LSA’s flexibility makes it a powerful tool for climate adaptation planning and in mitigating any natural hazard that can be geospatially defined (i.e., floods, wildfires, sea-level-rise, volcanic eruptions, etc.) during or before the disaster recovery process.