The Economics Behind Weather Proofing Cities

The Economics Behind Weather
and Climate Proofing Cities
Zach Perry
College of Arts and Sciences
Major: Economics
Minors: Computer and Information
Science, History
Presentation Outline
• Extreme weather and climate events that effect
• Brief history of weather proofing
• Monetary impact of these events
• Current weather/climate proofing examples
• Economic and social reasons for
• The future of weather/climate proofing
What do We Weather/Climate Proof
• Extreme weather events:
▫ Tornados, Hurricanes,
Blizzards, heavy rain,
drought etc.
• Small scale weather events
▫ Light rain, lighting,
snowstorms, small flooding,
• Large Scale Climate Changes
▫ Specifically global warming
▫ Not as easy to predict and
prepare for
History of Weather Proofing
• Weather proofing began with
water proofing a boats, and
homes in ancient times
• Weather proofing has
developed into two main parts
• For most of history focus was
on weather proofing homes,
and protecting agriculture
• Focus has shifted to cities and
densely populated areas
The Cost of Weather/Climate Events
• Weather causes high repair
costs in short run, and far
reaching impacts in the long
• Climate impacts are not always
as clear
▫ High water overwhelms water
treatment facilities
▫ Extreme cold or heat
Developed vs. Undeveloped Countries
• Developed
▫ High levels of
monetary loss
due to repair
▫ Economic
allows for long
term recovery
▫ Typical focus is
on large scale
weather proofing
• Undeveloped
▫ Repair costs are typically low
▫ Very difficult to recover from
disasters and often effects can
last years
▫ Focus is typically on small
scale weather proofing
Small Scale Weather/Climate Proofing
• Small scale refers to efforts
made by individuals
▫ Typically homeowners
▫ Often financed privately
▫ Less expensive
• Examples
▫ Waterproofing a home or
▫ Tornado shelters or cellars
▫ Irrigation techniques to
protect fields against flooding
Raised land to protect against flooding
Large Scale Weather/Climate Proofing
• Large scale weather and
climate proofing is often
taken on by governments or
large private institutions
• Increases protection and
general welfare of a large
group of individuals
• Aim is to make entire areas or
cities prepared for weather
and climate events
• Houses designed to float in
Lower 9th Ward of New
• Hurricane-proof buildings
near the Gulf and Atlantic
• Large Skyscrapers and bridges
▫ Earthquakes
▫ High Winds
• Levees and Flood Gates
New Orleans Float homes
Hurricane Proof Buildings
Why weather/climate proof?
• Long-term cost savings:
▫ Less damage from weather
• New design and construction
creates jobs and spurs
economic growth
• Proofing can not always
protect property but often can
save lives
▫ Tornado shelters
• Environmental side effect
▫ Weather/Climate proofed
buildings are often also eco
Effectiveness of Weather/Climate
• Monetary effectiveness varies with type
▫ Systems in place for flooding are much more effective at preventing
damage compared to tornados
• Infrastructure changes in the Philippines expected to return 5
times in loss prevention
• Federal spending on levees pays for itself six times over
▫ American Society of Civil Engineers
• 2005 FEMA Study:
▫ $1 in grants saved taxpayers $3.65 in avoided costs.
• 2014 Study
▫ Every $1 spent on prevention leads to $4 plus in savings
How to Achieve Effective Weather/
Climate Proofing
• Federal, state or local building
• Subsidies or rebates to
encourage the building of eco
friendly and weather proofed
• Taxes on buildings and
projects that do not meet a
• Charitable efforts
• Educational outreach
• Research into at risk areas
Future Advances and Technologies
• Large focus is on the warming
trends and anticipated climate
▫ i.e. Climate Proofing
• The World Bank has become
increasingly invested in future
climate proofing
▫ The Netherlands is the leader
in weatherproofing
• Examples:
▫ Green Roofs in cities
▫ Movable river closing
▫ Infrastructure changes
Rendering of Green Roof Designs
Works Cited