Flooded neighborhood near Wilson Ave. SW and Hamilton Street SW (Don Becker / USGS)

Introducing Flood Studies

As I am slowly building out this website, I wanted to create a page dedicated to the work I have done on my dissertation and the work that has grown out of it. Searching for a name, I finally settled on “Flood Studies.” That name encompasses so much more than just the environmental economics or homeland security aspects of the NFIP. It also encompasses more than the contents of my dissertation which included environmental economics, sociology, and public finance.

So I propose a new interdisciplinary field called “flood studies.” This field already exists and does not have a name but it does have a unifying theme. The field includes contributions from:

  • Environmental economics
  • Sociology
  • Public policy
  • Meteorology
  • Civil engineering
  • History
  • Environmental science
  • Oceanography

And others I have not listed here. No person is an expert in more than one or two of these fields, but the key to interdisciplinary studies is collaboration and flood studies is ripe for that sort of collaboration.

The importance of flood studies is that it encourages those looking at the NFIP or hurricane preparedness to use a different lens. Our earliest mythologies are references to devastating floods and there are intense political and sociological justifications for our current flood response strategies, despite their economic inefficiencies. Those looking at flood response with an economic viewpoint need to make sure other views are included in their analysis.

Image by: Don Becker / USGS.