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Reading List: Houston, Harvey, and Land Use

Watching the devastation of Hurricane Harvey unfold since Friday has been heartbreaking for all Texans, and our thoughts remain with all those affected and with those lending aid. Having worked with great clients in the area, we know these communities will rebuild, stronger than ever, and we hope to assist in any way we can.

(Looking for a way to help right now? Texas Monthly compiled a great resource here.)

Much has been written in these past few days about Houston in an attempt to shed light on the developing catastrophe. Amidst the diverse commentary, many writers have focused on the role of land use policy, so we thought we’d gather a reading list of some of the most insightful pieces. There are no simple solutions, but there is a consensus that concrete action must follow this outpouring of words if we are to truly learn from this tragedy.

One of the most widely-cited articles explaining the flooding comes from Ian Bogost at The Atlantic: “Houston’s Flood Is a Design Problem”

Native Houstonian Jeff Wood discusses the land use policy specifics in play at The Overhead Wire: “It’s Not the Zoning, It’s the MUD”

An impeccably-researched (and unfortunately prophetic) piece on flooding in Houston with great interactive data visualization by Neena Satija, Kiah Collier, and Al Shaw, produced jointly last December for ProPublica/The Texas Tribune: “Boomtown, Flood Town”

Houston Chronicle columnist Mike Snyder probes attitudes toward development in the city (and links to some great in-depth investigations by the paper prompted by previous floods): “Will Harvey Lead to New Thinking About Area Development?”

And to end with a call to action, some positive policy steps proposed by


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