Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Char Miller

Reader 2

Nina Karnovsky

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Rights Information

©2018 Brandon Tolentino-Serrano


Situated in one of the wettest climates in America, Houston, TX has had a long history of heavy rains and unprecedented floods. Unfortunately, floods have become more common over the last few decades as climate change increases the frequency and intensity of hurricanes around the globe. To complicate matters further, Houston has quickly sprawled to accommodate over 2.5 billion people. Rapid urbanization has rendered the landscape even more susceptible to floods through excess concretization and watershed disturbance. This thesis traces the history of the Bayou City in relation to the damages caused by Hurricane Harvey. By mapping out the original neighborhoods and the current demographics of the city, I argue that low-income and minority groups have been systematically forced into higher-risk floodplains via prejudice housing practices. Furthermore, I explore the roles of the National Insurance Flood Program (NIFP) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the rebuilding of the city following Harvey, and I detail the sudden spike in unsheltered homeless people across the region. The thesis closes by critiquing projects that have been proposed for the future well-being of Houston (i.e. reservoir remediation, conveyance projects, coastal dykes, etc.). Evidently, local and outside experts across fields and organizations need to cooperate to determine the immediate and specific needs of neighborhoods and people across the city of Houston.