Houston university to lead new NSF-back flooding study
Houston will be the setting of a new three-year National Science Foundation-funded study that focuses on a phenomenon the city is quite familiar with: flooding.
Conducted by Rice University, the study will consider how "design strategies aimed at improving civic engagement in stormwater infrastructure could help reduce catastrophic flooding," according to a statement.
The team will begin its research in the Trinity/Houston Gardens neighborhood and will implement field research, participatory design work and hydrological impact analyses.
Rice professor of anthropology Dominic Boyer and Rice's Gus Sessions Wortham Professor of Architecture Albert Pope are co-principal investigators on the study. They'll be joined by Phil Bedient, director of the Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters Center at Rice, and Jessica Eisma, a civil engineer at the University of Texas at Arlington.
According to Boyer, the study will bring tougher researchers from across disciplines as well as community members and even elementary-aged students.
"Our particular focus will be on green stormwater infrastructure—techniques like bioswale, green roofs and rain gardens—that are more affordable than conventional concrete infrastructure and ones where community members can be more directly involved in the design and implementation phases,” Boyer said. “We envision helping students and other community members design and complete projects like community rain gardens that offer a variety of beneficial amenities and can also mitigate flooding.”
Rice's Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters Center, or SSPEED Center, is a leader in flood mitigation research and innovation.
In 2021, the center developed its FIRST radar-based flood assessment, mapping, and early-warning system based on more than 350 maps that simulate different combinations of rainfall over various areas of the watershed. The system was derived from the Rice/Texas Medical Center Flood Alert System (FAS), which Bedient created 20 years ago. Click here to read more.