Many are aware of the significant damage which Hurricane Harvey cause to much of Southern Texas. However, could the effects have been prevented with proper urban planning?
Texas has long been a state where government regulation has stayed minimal. In particular, the small simple zoning bylaws has meant that developers have had lots of freedom to build what they want, where they want. For the past decade, Cities like Houston have long had cheap affordable housing which has caused these areas to score highly on affordability especially when considering the economic prosperity of Texas and high wages.
Yet this method of unregulated development has its fallbacks. For one, it doesn’t force developers to put in green spaces which help with water drainage. Houses and other buildings aren’t able to drain properly or are too densely packed making rescues harder and more difficult.
So the large question is, will Houston learn from the flooding and restrict development? or will the city continue to prioritize cheap housing?