New South Central RISA Case Study Examines Flood Hazard Mitigation Successes in Tulsa, Oklahoma

  • 20 July 2021

Tulsa, Oklahoma was one of the most flood-prone cities in the nation in the 1970’s. Now, it is known for its success in mitigating flood hazards. The South Central RISA team recently published a case study in the journal Natural Hazards Review that reveals some of the factors that contributed to Tulsa’s flood mitigation successes. The lessons learned can be applied to other communities who would like to increase their resilience to flooding.

Jazz on Tulsa Time: The Remarkable Story of the Network of Flood Mitigation Champions behind the Tulsa Turnaround highlights the importance of following the standard model for hazard mitigation. It also shows that promoting a diverse group of stakeholders with regard to their professional roles, personal characteristics, and relationships, is critical in order to cultivate the conditions for local champions of hazard mitigation to succeed.

Through interviews with key stakeholders, site visits, and primary documents, several recommendations emerged for practitioners and policy makers who want to replicate Tulsa’s success:

  1. Foster and sustain a team of champions.
  2. Make room for multiple models of leadership.
  3. Acknowledge the personal sacrifices that can arise for a mitigation champion.
  4. Approach hazard mitigation primarily as a community planning issue, not an emergency management function.

View the case study »

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Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather.