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Dr. Gavin Smith
North Carolina State University

Project Name:

Institutionalizing the Graduate Certificate in Disaster Resilient Policy, Engineering and Design

Other Research Participants/Partners:

Coastal Dynamics Design Lab, Department of Landscape Architecture, North Carolina State University; School of Architecture, North Carolina State University; Federal Emergency Management Agency; GNS Science (New Zealand); Meridian Urban (Australia)

Project Description:

The project aims to institutionalize the Graduate Certificate Program in Disaster Resilient Policy, Engineering and Design at NC State through interdisciplinary partnerships with faculty as well as federal, state, local and international partners, members of the private sector and graduate students participating in the certificate program.  Key tasks designed to achieve this aim include:

1) Conducting a design studio in a North Carolina community focused on identifying the best uses of open space post-buyout and development of resilient replacement housing that is located out of harm’s way (the studio course will be incorporated into the certificate program as a six-credit hour elective).

2) Continuing the analysis of the national survey of State Hazard Mitigation Officers and the comparative study of innovative housing acquisition programs in the United States, New Zealand and Australia.  All course development and research activities and their associated deliverables will be undertaken in partnership with faculty and graduate students at NC State as well as practitioners at the federal, state, local and international level and the work incorporated into the graduate certificate program, including all core courses.

Research undertaken in Year 6 will be used in student master’s projects, dissertations and jointly developed journal articles and technical reports that will be provided to FEMA, state division of emergency management agencies, and local governments. Continued partnerships with New Zealand and Australia will serve to further ongoing research, to include international lesson-drawing tied to the development of new and emerging national hazard mitigation and disaster recovery policy in the U.S., New Zealand and Australia.

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: