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Dr. Gavin Smith
North Carolina State University

Project Name:

The Creation of an Open Space Management Guide for FEMA-Funded Buyout Properties and Injecting the Study and Practice of Buyouts and Resettlement into the Graduate Certificate Program

Other Research Participants/Partners:

Eric Letvin, Jae Park, and Brian Willsey, FEMA; Andy Fox, Olivia Vila, Brian Vaughn, Claire Henkle, Samata Gyawali, Samiksha Bhattarai, and Travis Klondike, NCSU; State Hazard Mitigation Officers; Local government officials involved in past buyouts; NC State Resilient and Sustainable Coasts Initiative members; Wendy Walsh, EMI Higher Education Program Manager; American Society of Landscape Architects, and the American Planning Association.

Project Description:

This project will focus on the development and distribution of an Open Space Management Guide for home buyout properties and the incorporation of the findings into the Graduate Certificate Program. The guide, developed in partnership with a range of end-users, will blend policy and design approaches created to meet the needs of those engaged in the management of open space and the identification of “receiving areas” following FEMA- funded buyouts. The Open Space Management Guide will be incorporated into lecture and studio-based courses that are part of the Graduate Certificate in Disaster Resilient Policy, Engineering, and Design and other courses as identified. The guide will be disseminated to practitioners and academics as part of a strategy developed in partnership with FEMA Mitigation staff, State Hazard Mitigation Officers (SHMOs), Emergency Management Institute Higher Education Project Manager, American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), and American Planning Association (APA), land trusts, and others as identified.

Project Abstract

Research Interests:

Hazard mitigation, planning for post-disaster recovery, and climate change adaptation. Translational activities include advising international, federal, state and local governments on a number of issues including the linkage between sustainable development and risk reduction, pre- and post-disaster policymaking, and improving the nexus between disaster management initiatives and emerging climate change adaptation measures.


Department Page


In the News:

CRC news:
Disaster Resilience Design Syllabus

Students learn about Charlotte flood buyout program

CRC certificate students host resilience symposium

FEMA Administrator to speak at UNC as part of CRC speakers series

Princeville residents guide plan for future of town

Design teams develop options for Princeville

Initiative addresses community needs post-Matthew

Coastal Resilience Center to lead post-Matthew disaster recovery efforts

CRC researchers working with Hurricane Matthew-affected communities

Coastal Resilience Center researchers, partners aid in Hurricane Matthew preparation and recovery

UNC’s Natural Hazards Resilience Certificate courses address research, practice

Fugate: Whole community is needed in emergency management

FEMA‘s Craig Fugate to address future of emergency management Feb. 17

Media appearances (selected):

Gavin Smith discusses his work at North Carolina State University
Idea from Oklahoma can help NC plan for future of increased flooding
FEMA officials in the hot seat over disaster preparedness
Dr. Gavin Smith on “The Big Picture with Olivier Knox”
What happens when a family loses everything?
As storms keep coming, FEMA spends billions in ‘cycle’ of damage and repair
The Carolinas survey Florence damages
Hurricane raises questions about rebuilding along North Carolina’s coast
The life-or-death science of evacuation psychology 
Hurricane Florence drives some residents to give up on this disaster-prone town
Facing Florence, some North Carolinians still recovering from previous storms
Charlotte Talks: ‘Near-Normal’ hurricane season forecast 
Responding to community needs: Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts in eastern North Carolina
Seeking refuge in Houston by BBC World Service
In the wake of Harvey and Irma, how money moves through government and into disaster aid relief
After shelters, some Harvey victims will move to vacant Houston apartments
A Storm Forces Houston, the Limitless City, to Consider Its Limits
Experts say it could take Houston years to fully recover from Harvey
Carolina Planning Journal, Volume 42: Re:(Anything)
Hurricanes’ impact on health
Some N.C. towns struggle to survive a year after Matthew
After two floods, historic African-American town could move to higher ground
Saving Princeville
Hurricane Matthew Infographic
Building resilience capacity during hurricane season
Let There be Floods!: Charlotte-Mecklenburg County looks to the future for floodplain management
City planning should meet community needs, expert says
FEMA administrator: Government agencies don’t always plan for worst-case scenarios

Contact Info: