George Frantz: Planning Disaster Resistant Communities

Department of City and Regional Planning Professional Planning Colloquium

George Frantz has taught planning field workshop courses in communities ranging from the 9th Ward of New Orleans to Catskill Mountain resort towns. He has an active private practice in land use planning and design. His primary areas of expertise are in urban design and comprehensive land use planning and zoning, with particular emphasis on addressing the needs of agriculture and the protection of environmentally sensitive lands. His current research interests include Chinese and American cities and their potential to evolve into more environmentally and socially sustainable communities. He has also studied the impacts of Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling on agricultural land resources in northern Pennsylvania. Frantz received his bachelor of science in landscape architecture and his master in regional planning from Cornell in 1980 and 1991, respectively.

Frantz's lecture will focus hazard mitigation and mitigation planning. Across the U.S. and the world, natural disasters pose grave threats to communities. The fragility of artificial levees, flood walls and other flood control measures was starkly illustrated in New Orleans in 2005. Record setting floods in the Susquehanna and Schoharie watershed of New York and Pennsylvania in September 2011 heavily impacted numerous communities in this region. Under the Clinton presidency federal disaster policy shifted from a focus on disaster response and recovery to a focus on mitigating natural hazards and making communities more resistant to natural disasters. Hazard mitigation and mitigation planning has become the norm.

This approach is now beginning to produce results. Land use planners are now taking the need seriously to protect vital floodplain resources, better manage storm water, and adopt better design standards to create more flood resistant residential and commercial architecture. Traditional design approaches to flood management facilities such as floodwalls and levees are being replaced by site sensitive designs that incorporate multiple uses into the structure.

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