Flooding is a “wicked problem” that is complex and difficult to solve. Incomplete knowledge coupled with the large number of people and systems that are impacted add additional complexity to this challenge. Urban flooding is of particular concern as human populations concentrate in urban areas, which are often located in coastal or flood prone areas. This Cyberseminar series brings together scholars from a variety of perspectives and fields to share their research on urban flooding, recommendations for how to lessen future impacts or approach challenges, and highlight areas of needed research and collaboration. Hosted by CUAHSI, this series seeks to reach scientists at all stages of their careers, policy makers, and urban flood practitioners to establish connections between members of different fields, shed light on interdisciplinary research and methodologies, and to define calls to action for both research and practice.  Join us Wednesdays this fall for Perspectives on urban flood resilience: How different fields tackle one of the world’s most prevalent disasters, a Cyberseminar series that seeks to bring together individuals from different backgrounds who are addressing the complex problem of urban flooding.

Dates: September 8th - October 13th 

Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm ET

Register Here

Session Overview

Week 1 - Validating Operational Flood Forecast Models Using Sensors and Citizen Science

Instructor: J. Derek Loftis, Virginia Institute for Marine Science

Changes in eustatic sea level have enhanced the impact of inundation events in the coastal zone, ranging in significance from tropical storm surges to extratropical nor'easters to pervasive nuisance flooding events. The increased frequency of these inundation events has stimulated the production and sharing of interactive operational forecast model predictions generated from hydrodynamic models via web-maps to illustrate changes in our coastal environment. This presentation will explore the impacts of emerging street-level scale inundation mapping tools and the ways they have been validated successfully through interdisciplinary approaches of remote sensing, automated sensors, and citizen science in coastal Virginia.

Week 2 - How Effective is Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management?

Instructor: Moira Zellner, Northeastern University

This talk examines how different landscape and infrastructure factors and hydrological processes need to be taken into consideration to support the design of policy promoting green infrastructure for stormwater management. Zellner and her colleagues developed a spatially-explicit process-based model (the Landscape Green Infrastructure Design model, L-GriD) to understand the effect of neighborhood-level planning of green infrastructure on localized flooding in different storm types and land cover contexts.

Week 3 - Applying a Food-Energy-Water Nexus Approach to Coastal Resilience Research and Planning

Instructor: Kristin Raub, CUAHSI, Northeastern University

Climate change poses increased risks to coastal communities and the interconnected infrastructure they rely on, including food, energy, and water systems. Each system is also susceptible to many coastal hazards, such as urban flooding, and damage to one system can cause damage to other connected systems. This talk will explore how a food-energy-water nexus approach can inform coastal resilience in research and planning.

Week 4 - Collaborative Flood Modeling - A Pathway for Building Trust and Integrating Equity into Flood Management

Instructor: Brett Sanders, University of California - Irvine

Collaborative flood modeling is a structured process of interaction between modeling experts and stakeholders that is designed to bring the best available flooding science and tools into the broad arena of flood management and its many stakeholders. Simulations and visualizations of urban flood hazards offer an entry point for stakeholders to meaningfully participate in the management of flooding, including conversations about potential impacts and ways to manage risks, and finding synergies between flooding and other watershed management needs. The process also reshapes power structures in flood modeling because control of scenarios and ideas for testable interventions is not restricted to those with resources. This opens the door for greater equity with respect to infrastructure investments as well as planning and policy. Experience implementing collaborative flood modeling in California and Mexico will be presented.

Week 5 - Center the challenge: Engaging with retreat as resilience

Instructor: A.R. Siders, University of Delaware

Retreat - moving away from highly hazardous places - is a controversial flood resilience and adaptation strategy. How retreat should occur is even more controversial: who should decide when and where retreat should take place, whether or how people should be compensated, who should pay. Answering questions like these requires interdisciplinary and inter-governmental cooperation, with all the challenges that entails. Engaging with these debates, though, presents an opportunity to improve decision-making across the board and to identify social priorities for resilience, adaptation, and development.

Week 6 - A Resilience DIET: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Transformation for Rebuilding After Emergencies

Instructor: Atiya Martin, All Aces, Inc. (an alternative to traditional diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting firms)

Participants will experience an engaging session on what an equitable recovery means. Dr. Martin will provide knowledge and tools to support participants' role in the ongoing practice of equitably improving the ability of people, communities, and organizations to face the complexities involved. Resilience is framed from the point of (1) embedding equity and (2) not just bouncing back, but bouncing forward.