Great Issues—Miller Center

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Great Issues: Scholarship in the Public Interest

More from Scott Knowles


Power, Poverty, and Disasters in the United States - Poverty is the largest indicator of vulnerability in disaster situations. However, prior to Hurricane Sandy, there hadn’t been a lot of discussion around the relationship between poverty and flood insurance. Scott Knowles argues for a shift in discourse and policy, whereby we begin to think about flood insurance as part of the social safety net.

Reforming Flood Insurance - In 2012, the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act was passed in an attempt to reform and extend the National Flood Insurance Program. In 2014, the Grimm-Waters Insurance Affordability Act was signed to delay parts of Biggert-Waters. Scott Knowles describes the development of these reforms in the broader context of the changes to flood insurance after Hurricane Katrina.

The All Hazards Approach - Scott Knowles explains the emergence of the all hazards paradigm, how emergency management has evolved, and how it will need to adapt to a changing climate.

The Emergence of the National Flood Insurance Program - After World War II, coastal development increased exponentially in the United States, leading to increased prices for flood insurance. Despite decades of attempts to create a subsidized flood insurance policy, it wasn’t until Lyndon Johnson ordered a study into the science of floodplain management that the National Flood Insurance program was launched in 1969. Although it experienced a rocky start, throughout the 1970s and 1980s the demand for flood insurance skyrocketed.

The Role of Policy History - After a disaster occurs, there is often an impetus to learn lessons very quickly. However, Scott Knowles argues that we need to develop a different time scale, focusing instead on a longer memory in the wake of disasters.