Successive Development: How Natural Hazards Help Drive Urbanization and Vice Versa

James R. Elliott, Rice University
Matthew Clement, University of Oregon
Jessica Schultz, University of Oregon

Development requires not only material transformation of local landscapes but adaptation to endemic natural hazards. Prior research has highlighted each of these dynamics but largely ignored their interaction. The present study helps to fill this gap by using county-level data on economic losses from natural hazards and data on local land development across the continental United States to examine how the two processes feedback successively in place over time. Results from panel regression and structural equation models provide evidence of such feedback and demonstrate how the political economy of place-making means that costly natural disasters do not impede development but rather successively contribute to it. Implications for theory, policy and future research are discussed.

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Presented in Session 84: Urban Change in the United States