Luis Guajardo of Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research assesses the city of Houston’s progress on its 2020 “resilience strategy,” adopted “to improve the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems within the Houston region to not only survive any and all chronic stresses and acute shocks they might experience, but adapt and thrive.”
The initiative, Resilient Houston, addresses potential “shocks and stresses” including natural disasters, public health threats, and infrastructure failures. After Texas’s “short-sighted, deregulatory approach to energy policy” had disastrous effects during the recent winter storm that left millions across the state “stranded in their homes for days without power, heat, potable water and food,” Houston leaders and stakeholders must redouble their efforts to build resiliency into the city’s infrastructure.
Highlights of progress made in the last year include the construction of over 36,000 residential units, new incentives for property owners who install green stormwater infrastructure, and the planting of close to half a million trees.
The Institute plans to track future progress even more closely. “Later this year, the Kinder Institute will launch its Resilience and Recovery Tracker, which consolidates the recovery, mitigation and adaptation efforts of Harris County and the City of Houston on one website,” and “can be used to access spending dashboards, interactive maps and thematic pages related to recovery from — and resilience to — extreme events.”