Scorecard helps coastal city find weaknesses in hazard planning

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City planners in Norfolk, Va., have identified weaknesses and inconsistencies in their community’s natural hazard plans with a scorecard developed in part by researchers in the Texas A&M Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning.

Frequently menaced by hurricanes, tropical storms and high-tide flooding, this coastal city of 243,000 includes the world’s largest naval base and the Port of Virginia, which includes the sixth-largest containerized cargo complex in the United States.

“The city’s staff had not previously evaluated their hazard mitigation plan,” said Jaimie Masterson, program manager at Texas Target Communities. She recently blogged about the scorecard’s use by Norfolk planners on the University of North Carolina Coastal Resilience Center website.

Masterson is part of a research team led by Phil Berke, a professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning. The team developed the scorecard in a project funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The scorecard’s use, she said, also generates conversations between planners and policymakers that ultimately improve Norfolk’s natural hazard resilience.

“Cities are able to have better conversations, which lead to better planning decisions and public investments,” Masterson said.

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