Supporting Flood Planning in the Great Lakes and Intermountain West regions in the context of climate change impact, future growth and migration

Last Updated: 10/10/2022

Work related to this project was published as a commentary in Earth’s Future, available here.

Project Summary

GLISA and WWA (Western Water Assessment) will conduct pilot work to test and co-develop a usable, spatially-explicit model of urban development in the context of flood patterns and existing socio-political variables for small and mid-sized cities across the Great Lakes and Western Water regions. The goal is to provide a tool that will help urban decision-makers make better-informed decisions and consider tradeoffs in the face of changing demographics, patterns of socio-economic growth, and flood risk. Specific goals of this collaboration are: 1) to develop a regionwide spatially-explicit GIS model that combines land-use change, flooding data, and projected growth with an evaluation of flood-related policy capacity at the state and local levels to support cities in their short- and long-term planning; 2) explore the usability and fit of the model by carrying out stakeholder workshops in four cities (two cities in each region) to better understand whether and how this kind of integrated analysis might support planning and community participation; 3) develop a number of testable hypotheses for future research focusing on the intersection of climate change risk management, economic growth, equity,  and migration, a critical emerging issue for the science of adaptation in the US and worldwide. Our two-level framework (integrated regional spatial modeling and stakeholder-driven workshops) seeks both to develop new co-produced cross-RISA science and to develop tools that can be scaled up and adapted to the wider RISA network. Our ‘proof of concept’ approach can also help to evaluate future research investments in our own core programs while supporting cities to further develop their capacity to act to mitigate and manage flood risk in an integrated and transparent way.

Project Accomplishments

GLISA Contribution

Collecting and analyzing policy and planning data, including a review of existing policy and planning and interviews with decision-makers.

Project Partners

  • WWA (Western Water Assessment)
  • NOAA Climate Program Office (CPO)
  • Great Lakes Climate Adaptation Network

GLISA Contact

Maria Carmen Lemos, Co-Director and Principal Investigator,