In the wake of Harvey, Houston needs to alter planning regulations

September 12, 2017 by Amy Mccaig
In the wake of Harvey, Houston needs to alter planning regulations
Credit: Rice University

In the wake of Tropical Storm Harvey, it is crucial to understand Houston's land-development regulations and their limitations. To effectively respond to the storm and plan for a more resilient future, Houston may need to alter its existing land-development system, according to experts from Rice University's Kinder Institute for Urban Research.

Land-use policies and their consequences are discussed in a new report, "Developing Houston: Land-Use Regulation in the 'Unzoned City' and its Outcomes," which was released today by the Kinder Institute.

"This report shows that Houston already has a system of land-development regulations in place and that together they mirror most major elements of other cities' zoning codes," said Kyle Shelton, director of strategic partnerships for the Kinder Institute. "It also shows, though, that those regulations are often not flexible enough to meet the needs of different communities or to help achieve development goals of the overall."

In the context of Hurricane Harvey recovery, Shelton said, the findings here suggest that the city will need to alter its planning regulations in ways that can help communities and the entire city become more resilient.

"A key piece to that shift will be ensuring that regulations can be adapted to meet the needs of particular neighborhoods and be accessible to all," he concluded.

Explore further: 117 years on, the storm which destroyed Galveston

More information: Land-Use Regulation in the "Unzoned City" and its Outcomes: kinder.rice.edu/uploadedFiles/ … ance/UnzonedCity.pdf

Related Stories

Urban sprawl in spotlight after historic Houston floods

September 2, 2017

Rapid, poorly regulated urbanization in Houston has exacerbated the impact of flooding from Hurricane Harvey, experts say, warning that local authorities must pay attention as global climate change threatens to intensify ...

On Katrina anniversary, New Orleans braces for Harvey

August 29, 2017

New Orleans on Tuesday marked 12 years since Hurricane Katrina slammed into the US Gulf Coast, as the low-lying coastal city braced for a potentially-devastating new impact by Harvey later this week.

Recommended for you

Study finds pollution is deadlier than war, disaster, hunger

October 20, 2017

Environmental pollution—from filthy air to contaminated water—is killing more people every year than all war and violence in the world. More than smoking, hunger or natural disasters. More than AIDS, tuberculosis and ...

Carbon coating gives biochar its garden-greening power

October 20, 2017

For more than 100 years, biochar, a carbon-rich, charcoal-like substance made from oxygen-deprived plant or other organic matter, has both delighted and puzzled scientists. As a soil additive, biochar can store carbon and ...

Cool roofs have water saving benefits too

October 20, 2017

The energy and climate benefits of cool roofs have been well established: By reflecting rather than absorbing the sun's energy, light-colored roofs keep buildings, cities, and even the entire planet cooler. Now a new study ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.