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As extreme weather events become more often and intensify, the number of people and places exposed to flooding events is likely to grow.

But until now, surprisingly little was known about how floodplain development patterns vary across communities. A new study from researchers at the University of North Carolina shows that new housing construction in flood-prone areas has contributed to increasing risk across NC despite community and government efforts to reduce flood damage. The study, published Feb 7, 2023 in the journal of the American Planning Association, shows that more than ten new residences have been built in the state’s 100-year floodplains for every residence removed through government buyouts (programs that purchase flood-prone property and restore it to open space).

Co-author of the study, Antonia Sebastian, Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth, Marine and Environmental Sciences (EMES) said, “We find that community effort towards flood risk management doesn’t always correspond to limiting floodplain development.”

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