TMO has brought together several data sets into our first report on metropolitan Texas, People, Land, and Water: Stories of Metropolitan Growth. In People, we analyze socio-demographic trends on diversity, education, poverty, and more, revealing several trends about the people of metropolitan Texas. In Land, the physical expansion of metros is analyzed against population growth, density, and imperviousness, finding that growth is both more efficient and increasingly intense. In Water, consumption patterns are examined by source and end-use, finding decreasing water use per capita; however, increasing population growth will outpace efficiency improvements.
Our interest in social vulnerability is to provide data and information that decision makers can use to consider vulnerability and advance resilience across the state of Texas. The information provided can be useful to urban policy-makers at the municipal, county, or regional planning authority level, or from the perspective of the state as a whole.
Climate and community resilience refers to a set of indicators to assess the risks that certain climate-related hazards pose, how those risks are spatially and socially distributed, and how households, neighborhoods and cities can build resilience. Climate-related hazards – flood, wildfire, extreme heat, among others – causes damage and loss to property, infrastructure, livelihoods, service provision and environmental resources. Some communities are disproportionately exposed to and affected by climate hazards more than others based on social vulnerability. We present a multi-risk assessment that considers how hazard risk and vulnerability interact. We first assess social vulnerability and each risk separately (considering for each hazard a specific analysis of exposure and vulnerability) and then the aggregation allows a multi-risk index evaluation.
The concept of urban resilience, particularly through a systems framework, has advanced tremendously over the past decade. Relatedly, collaborative and network governance is increasingly considered essential for the sustainability of urban social-ecological-technical systems. However, empirical evidence explicitly linking metropolitan networks to resilience planning and implementation is sparse. We address this gap by researching a network of organizations pursuing resilience strategies within and across two major metropolitan areas in Texas – Austin and San Antonio. Utilizing a mixed-methods approach that includes qualitative and social network analysis (descriptive and exponential random graph modeling), we examine the factors that drive network formation around blue-green infrastructure in the study area. The planning and implementation of general resilience strategies across metropolitan jurisdictional boundaries is dependent upon the social infrastructure available for governance (i.e., the relationships among organizations engaged in resilience building activities). Our findings demonstrate the tendency for network closure as a key governance feature for resilience implementation. Providing urban policy-makers and planners with information about why networks form can facilitate implementation of blue-green infrastructure in this rapidly growing, climate change impacted region and beyond. Applying a network paradigm provides insights to build general resilience for adaptation and transformation in metropolitan systems.
This analysis of all US metros finds a major reduction in land consumed for urban expansion since 2000. The pattern is consistent across the continental US, though large regional disparities remain. Nearly all the reduction occurs in metro regions, with 87% of metro population growth occuring in those with declining expansion rates. Several possible explanations are discussed, but the findings suggest metro regions are complex, with the ability to change rapidly across decades.