Flood recovery and property acquisition in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Eric Tate, Aaron Strong, Travis Kraus, Haoyi Xiong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Voluntary property acquisitions are playing an increasingly prominent role in the aftermath of US flood disasters, as policy tools for community recovery and hazard mitigation. Following historic flooding in 2008, the City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, instituted a federally supported program for the acquisition of over 1300 damaged properties. Using Cedar Rapids as a case study, this article investigates post-flood property acquisition from the perspectives of cost effectiveness and social equity. To assess economic viability, a benefit-cost analysis was performed at the parcel scale. Social equity was assessed using a social vulnerability index tailored to flood recovery. The results indicate that the property acquisitions are cost effective based on the avoidance of future flood losses, and prioritize socially vulnerable neighborhoods. The dual economic and social analysis sheds light on the capacity of federally supported buyouts to support holistic post-disaster planning and decision-making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2055-2079
Number of pages25
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


  • Benefit-cost analysis
  • Buyouts
  • Disaster recovery
  • Social vulnerability


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