Abstract for: Modeling Disaster Habitation for Improved Flood Mitigation Project Analysis

Natural disasters damage built infrastructure systems, thereby forcing people to evacuate their homes, find alternative housing, and re-habitate. Mitigation projects can reduce damage to built infrastructures and speed community recovery. Most mitigation project analyses do not fully account for social benefits such as residential habitation. Rigorous modeling and quantification methods of the social benefits of disaster mitigation projects are needed. This paper describes a modeling framework and the Disaster Habitation Model (DHM), a system dynamics model for rigorously modeling and quantifying the habitation impacts of disaster mitigation projects for use in project analysis and selection. The DHM combines the impacts of critical internal infrastructure systems in a community to simulate habitation over a community's disaster experience. The framework and model are illustrated using the Halls Bayou watershed in Houston, Texas. Results estimate the habitation benefits of a proposed mitigation program and thereby provide a basis for including social effects of projects in mitigation project analyses. Major contributions of this work include a framework and model that improves disaster mitigation project analysis by quantifying impacts on habitation. They can be used to simulate and explain disaster habitation behavior realistically and are useful in quantifying improvements due to mitigation efforts. Application across different disaster types, mitigation efforts, limitations, and future development opportunities are discussed.