Shelton, John Taylor

Committee Member

Sherman-Morris, Kathleen

Committee Member

Meng, Qingmin

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


This thesis uses flooding driven by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and a history of inundation in Houston, Texas to critique the systems of floodplain mapping through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The role of Geographic Information Systems becomes a subject of interest in the context of U.S governance and the role of property as a driving force in urban development. The shortcomings of existing systems of mitigation are examined through mappings that bring measures of risk, damage, and recovery into contrast with each other. Racial and economic inequality are integrated into the analysis through a deeper consideration of the NFIP as the main form of federal protection against losses. Seeing that the NFIP has not protected the true status quo of urban life, it is argued that public perceptions of risk are formed contrary to the logic of home insurance, leading to observable inequalities in preparation and recovery