100&Change Application: Flood Modeling for Poverty Alleviation

Flooding is the most destructive type of natural disaster, affecting 100 million people globally, especially in developing nations. Much is being done, but current efforts are not bending the trajectory of human history away from more frequent, and more destructive, flooding disasters.

We’ve entered a competition called 100&Change for a $100 million MacArthur Foundation grant to help solve this critical problem of our time.

Our team of engineers and social scientists at UC Irvine work with vulnerable communities to co-develop the most sophisticated flood visualization tools available, allowing decision-makers and citizens to better understand their flood risk and experiment with mitigation strategies at any scale, from green infrastructure to low-risk urban development. The computer models we use rely on data that is not always available, and so we use modern, low-cost technologies to fill in the gaps.

With the support of the MacArthur Foundation, our goal is to scale up: co-developing flood hazard assessment and mitigation tools for the 18 urban areas facing the greatest risk around the world. These tools will enable communities to improve their resilience and engage in planning and decision-making to mitigate future flood risk.

This project is an initiative of the UCI Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation. Project leaders include: Richard Matthew, Victoria Basolo, and Nicola Ulibarri from the Department of Planning, Policy and Design; Brett Sanders, Amir AghaKouchak, Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, and Jochen Schubert from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Paul Bates from the University of Bristol; and James Orbinski from the Balsillie School of International Affairs.