“In Lumberton, a city whose past and present identity is shaped by the water flowing through it, planning for floodwaters is a crucial way for its residents to embrace their environment and find opportunity instead of risk. Within the city, the plan attempts to provide more equitable access to open parks while reducing risk to the most vulnerable parts of its population. A proposal of buyouts for at-risk homes and a strategic organization of vacant lands within the floodplain would provide a network of greenways extending across more than 800 acres, moving residents out of harm’s way and fostering a sense of appreciation for water instead of foreboding.”
– 2020 Awards Jury
The Lumberton Community Floodprint addresses the devastation Hurricanes Matthew and Florence caused to the City of Lumberton, NC. The project introduces the concept of a “floodprint” — an innovative landscape planning approach guided by water-land relationships, including the powerful forces of flooding, recovery and equity. The hyper-local Floodprint process uses landscape analyses and planning strategies to address: hazard mitigation and disaster recovery; social vulnerability; land and water conservation; policy, administration and finance; and natural resource management practices.
Project outcomes create opportunities for Lumberton to transform its vacant parcels into places for water storage, habitat and recreation. The plan connects 806 acres and provides 8.5 miles of trails into a unified, community-wide greenway, of which 99% resides within the 100-year floodplain. Associated sub-area plans propose short-, mid- and long-range improvement projects and management strategies. The processes and outcomes enabled through the Floodprint process continue to increase social and physical resilience in the city, specifically through actionable and scalable land-use strategies that reduce risk while simultaneously improving public safety and long-term environmental function within historically flood-prone neighborhoods.
▲“洪水足迹”是一个以水土关系为指导的社区尺度的规划过程，涉及“洪水”、“复原”和“实现公平性”等重要内容。该规划为中等尺度的乡村社区提供了降低脆弱地区受灾风险、灾后恢复和土地管理的解决方案。Community “Floodprinting”: A Floodprint is a community-wide planning process guided by water-land relationships, including the powerful forces of flooding, recovery and equity. The Lumberton Community Floodprint addresses hazard mitigation, disaster recovery and land management in vulnerable areas of this mid-size, rural community. © NC State Coastal Dynamics Design Lab
完成闭环 – 恢复、休闲和适应力
▲洪水和重复周期：相隔仅23个月的飓风“马修”（2016）和“佛罗伦萨”（2018）揭示出了兰伯顿的大部分百年和五百年洪泛区域。这些灾难性的洪水事件致使大量人口流离失所，并留下了大面积的空置土地。这些地区有着相似的洪水足迹。Floods and Recurrence Intervals: Separated by only 23 months, Hurricanes Matthew (2016) and Florence (2018) mirrored much of the 100- and 500-year floodplains in Lumberton. These catastrophic flood events have consequently led to large areas of displacement and vacant land occupying a similar footprint. © NC State Coastal Dynamics Design Lab
▲洪水的影响：当环境脆弱的低洼地区的人口数量和基础设施量不断增加，那么它们在面临自然灾害时所要承受的生命和财产损失也就越大。飓风马修和佛罗伦萨造成的大规模洪水一再证明类似的建设方法是不适宜且不可持续的。Impacts of Floodwaters: Increases of infrastructure and people residing in low-lying, environmentally vulnerable areas are correlated with increased risk and loss of life and property. The extensive flooding caused by Hurricanes Matthew and Florence have repeatedly proven these development practices unsuitable and unsustainable. ©Lee Stevens
▲填补差距：“洪水足迹”计划所提出的策略旨在弥补不同地区在灾后资金筹措、修复管理和实施方面的巨大差距。在兰伯顿，分析和规划的成果为联邦、州和地方相关部门提供了信息依据，并加快了后者提供援助的速度。Bridging the Gaps：Floodprint processes and resultant projects are strategically designed to bridge large gaps in recovery funding, administration and implementation. In Lumberton, analysis and planning outcomes have informed and expedited assistance from federal, state and local programs. © NC State Coastal Dynamics Design Lab
▲脆弱性评估框架：该计划对研究文献中衡量社会脆弱性的指标“美国人口普查局人口数据”（ACS-2015）进行了分析，以了解兰伯顿最容易受到洪水影响的区域。Vulnerability Assessment Framework: U.S. Census Bureau demographic data (ACS-2015 estimates) that research literature have determined to be indicators of social vulnerability were analyzed to understand the areas of Lumberton that are most vulnerable to the impacts of flooding. © NC State Coastal Dynamics Design Lab
▲修补社区肌理：由于受到灾害的土地数量庞大且分布不均，本次规划研究的目标是将空置的、未得到充分利用或遭受过重复性水灾损失的地块与现有的公共开放空间连接起来，以创造一个可管理的公共设施。Mending Community Fabric: Because of the high number and discontinuous arrangement of affected parcels, the goal of this planning study was to connect vacated, underutilized, and/or repetitive flood loss parcels to existing public open spaces to create manageable public amenities. © NC State Coastal Dynamics Design Lab
▲互联的愿景： 兰伯顿环。覆盖全市的步道网络将空置和未被充分利用的地块重新组织为一个范围超过806英亩的互联系统，其中99%以上的地块位于百年洪泛区内。A Connected Vision: Lumberton Loop. A citywide trail network organizes vacant and underutilized parcels into a connected system of 806+ acres, over 99% of which are in the 100-year floodplain. © NC State Coastal Dynamics Design Lab
▲公园数据对比：现有的公园和休闲空间管理指标是相对于NRPA指标比率进行评估的。规划建议的规模需要与运营支出相匹配（原先的支出低于州和全国的平均水平），以便管理现有和拟议的公园用地。Park Metric Comparisons: Current parks and recreation administrative metrics were evaluated relative to the NRPA Metrics ratios. Plan recommendations were scaled to align with operating expenditures, which are currently lower than state and national averages, to manage existing and proposed parklands. © NC State Coastal Dynamics Design Lab
▲Meadow Branch重点关注区：项目团队的成员作为不同子区域规划工作的代表与各地区的房主商谈了财产收购事宜及其带来的积极影响。在邻近Meadow Branch的社区，该举措成功地使流经的泄洪道得到了恢复。Meadow Branch Focus Area: Representative of the project’s distinct sub-area plans, team members spoke with homeowners regarding the implications of property acquisition vs elevation. In the neighborhood adjacent to the Meadow Branch tributary, this resulted in acquisitions that enable floodway restoration. © NC State Coastal Dynamics Design Lab
▲房主参与和收购策略：在确定出与泄洪道相交的地块后，将这些区域与附近的洪泛区土地相连，从而形成连贯的线性公园用地。基于阶段性的实施方法，由联邦应急管理局收购的、已得到批准的土地将逐步形成连接，用以创建新的公共设施。Homeowner Engagement and Acquisition Strategies: Recommendations identify parcels that intersect the floodway and connect adjacent floodplain properties to create a single conglomerate of acquisitions for a linear park. The scenarios illustrate a phased approach that connect approved FEMA buyout properties to create the new amenity. © NC State Coastal Dynamics Design Lab
▲Meadow Branch的泄洪道恢复：同步的、社区尺度的地块收购能够让洪泛区内的公园和恢复项目以富有凝聚力的状态逐步推进。Meadow Branch Floodway Restoration: Synchronized, neighborhood-scale parcel acquisitions enable development of a cohesive park/restoration features within floodways and floodplains. © NC State Coastal Dynamics Design Lab
▲化风险为机遇：溪流和湿地的恢复为公园的共同管理和保护创造了机会，并且显著降低了附近地区的洪水灾害风险。Flipping Hazards into Opportunities: Stream and wetland restoration creates opportunities for co-management of the park with conservation-based groups and significantly reduces the flood hazard risk for the neighborhood. © NC State Coastal Dynamics Design Lab
▲Scottish Packing重点关注区：Scottish Packing曾经是一个肉类加工区，靠近市中心和兰伯顿环。对该地块的适应性再利用使其与兰伯河及其周边的优美生态建立了罕见且宝贵的联系。Scottish Packing Focus Area: Adjacent to downtown and the Lumberton Loop, the adaptive reuse of this former meatpacking facility creates rare and critical connections to the Lumber River National Wild and Scenic River.’ © NC State Coastal Dynamics Design Lab
▲社区发展：位于兰伯河以南的许多少数族裔社区在历史上一直缺乏接触河流和享受休闲空间的机会，本次规划的实施为这些社区重新找回了这些长期缺失的资源，以支持环境教育、鼓励户外活动并加强生态系统服务。Neighborhood Vision: The historically underserved minority neighborhoods south of the Lumber River lack access to both river and recreational opportunities. This project reconnects and recaptures these long-absent resources to support environmental education, promote outdoor activity, and enhance ecosystem services. © NC State Coastal Dynamics Design Lab
▲改造和振兴：一些工厂建筑代表着河流与社区历史的重要联系。该规划提出对部分工厂结构进行湿式防洪改造，以支持社交和娱乐活动，使现有资产得到更加充分的利用。Retrofitting and Revitalizing: The structure of the former plant provides important connections to both river and neighborhood histories. The plan capitalizes on this existing asset by proposing a wet flood-proofing retrofit of the original structure to support social gatherings and recreation. © NC State Coastal Dynamics Design Lab
▲从风险地到风景地：项目团队将继续引导城市、保护团体和国家部门之间的讨论，将规划中的土地打造成受欢迎的休闲目的地，为居民提供社交、步行、骑行、钓鱼和划船等丰富的活动机会。From Disaster to Destination: The project team continues to lead discussions between the city, conservation groups and the state to re-purpose the property into a floodable recreation destination that promotes socializing, walking, biking, fishing and rafting activities. © NC State Coastal Dynamics Design Lab
In North Carolina alone, Hurricane Matthew (2016) caused $4.8 billion in damage and displaced thousands of families due to flood waters. Hurricane Florence (2018), making landfall less 23 months later, is estimated to have caused an additional $17 billion in monetary damages to the state. Tragically, Hurricane Florence hit the City of Lumberton, North Carolina (population 21,040) before implementation of Hurricane Matthew community recovery planning efforts were completed, with flood waters from both storms devastating many of the same areas.
Lumberton Community Floodprint
The Lumber River is the lifeblood of the communities that occupy its edges, including the City of Lumberton. The city, established in 1787, owes its location and existence to the abundant resources provided by the river, tributaries and floodplains. These natural features have made deep and lasting physical and cultural impressions that continue to influence both city and region. Recognizing that river and city are inseparable, this planning study introduces the concept of a “floodprint” — an innovative landscape approach to community analysis and planning that is guided by land-water relationships, including the powerful forces associated with flooding, recovery and equity.
The Lumberton Community Floodprint is the result of interdisciplinary work reflecting the best practices in rural resilience, as defined and organized around: community design and planning; post-disaster recovery procedures and financing; public policy and administration; and landscape planning and design. Begun in 2017 following Hurricane Mathew and continuing to present day, the goal of the community Floodprint process is to assist the City of Lumberton increase social and physical resilience within flood-prone areas. The project team used robust analytical methods, including but not limited to: geospatial analytics, hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, neighborhood meetings, federal policy and recovery funding program assessments, comparative park financing metrics, regional recreation gap analysis, and alternative futures illustrations. Together these analyses informed the development of a community plan that respects and reflects local character and history to guide community leaders in making local land-use decisions that reduce risk, improve public safety, and enhance long-term social and ecological functions within historically flood-prone areas.
The project team worked closely with elected officials and city staff to operationalize the plan’s ambitious goals through a focused strategy of transforming the city’s vacant parcels into places for water storage, habitat and ecologically sensitive trails, parks and programs. Project recommendations are tied to existing community assets, plans and, where appropriate, county and regional recovery planning efforts and existing recreation programs. Recommendations also address a variety of spatial and temporal scales of open space planning and management within the context of disaster recovery and hazard mitigation. Lastly, the project team has led community engagement activities to support equitable design and implementation of the proposed options. This community-engaged technical assistance process has helped Lumberton build capacity to navigate the difficult tasks of rebuilding its community and recovering its relationship with the Lumber River. These actions promote adaptive design strategies that support long-term community function, health, resilience, culture and vitality.
Prioritizing Equitable Futures
The most vulnerable people live in the most vulnerable places. Flood risk is not distributed equally across communities and correlates with a wide array of social vulnerability indicators. Communities with large numbers of low income households, people of color, seniors, young children, and other factors often find themselves in areas most affected by environmental stressors. In Lumberton, many of the city’s most socially vulnerable populations exist within the floodplain areas south of the Lumber River. These neighborhoods are artificially “protected” by a levee and lack redundant flood control measures to counteract the environmental hazards correlated with major flooding events.
The Floodprint process evaluated physical exposure and social vulnerability to environmental risks, including factors related to an individual’s ability to recover. The vulnerability assessment used environmental, social and economic data to build upon a baseline land suitability analysis. Similar to many communities, various demographic groups in Lumberton are disproportionately exposed to these risks. Identifying and understanding these socio-economically vulnerable populations provided a more accurate picture of the distribution of risk, and associated “gaps” in resource allocations, which in turn guided the prioritization of neighborhood level, sub-area planning recommendations. The resulting community master plan creates more equitable access to park space and recreational opportunities while simultaneously reducing exposure to flood risk at the scales of individual house and homeowner, neighborhood block and citywide.
Repurposing Vacant Land for Public Benefit
Several Lumberton neighborhoods were impacted by the catastrophic floods caused by Hurricanes Matthew and Florence. The aftermath has left a scatter-plot of vacant and/or underutilized properties throughout the city, further exacerbating existing vulnerabilities of these areas. In some cases, the City of Lumberton becomes the owner of such properties, and ultimately bears the responsibilities of upkeep and management. In rural communities like Lumberton, post-disaster decreases in tax base coupled with spatial discontinuity between vacant properties can quickly make the task of land management an overwhelming burden. Additionally, in this condition, vacant and/or flood-prone properties are not typically used in ways that serve an ongoing public benefit. Instead, vacant and/or flood-prone properties remain unprogrammed, become problematic to maintain, and are often viewed as a nuisance.
If managed properly, vacant land can serve as a catalyst for reconnecting natural systems, nurturing strong social bonds, and providing essential ecosystem services to areas undergoing transformation. In order to realize these benefits, the project team evaluated Lumberton’s vacant lands in the context of the entire community’s landscape. This informed larger planning and design strategies, and aligned proposed designs/programs with existing community planning documents/initiatives. These analyses also enabled a system-wide understanding of critical issues, such as: vulnerability to flooding (including causes), ecological significance, and asset connectivity (existing and potential). Once these criteria were mapped, issues and opportunities related to management of vacancies within the system were prioritized.
Lastly, illustrative methods were developed to clearly and concisely illustrate “buy-out” alternatives, computationally modeled stream restoration scenarios, and resultant land-use recommendations. These simplified, highly communicative graphic methods played an instrumental role in informing the decisions of individual property owners, neighborhood groups, and city staff and elected officials. The results have been transformative — ongoing collaborations with residents and city staff to co-design and implement projects have increased the speed of disaster recovery and resiliency planning activities and continue to guide the city in optimistic and opportunistic directions.
Closing the Loop — Recovery, Recreation, Resilience
The highest and best use of land within a floodplain is to serve its natural function – attenuate flooding through the capture, absorption and slow release of rising waters. At the time of the initial community engagements, floodplains were commonly, and solely, viewed as environmental hazards. As discussed, these same areas hold the potential to serve as public amenities through the provision of active recreation and ecosystem services, especially when connected to existing land holdings held by the city, state, and conservation groups. While buyout parcels, conservation easements, and city/county parks in Lumberton are often located in environmentally sensitive floodplain areas, these land holdings are disconnected and incapable of providing an integrated, citywide nature-based amenity. Leveraging all of the robust analyses, the Lumberton Community Floodprint developed a citywide plan, coined the “Lumberton Loop”, that aggregates these lands into a collective whole to provide a landmark recreational and flood infrastructure asset for the city. The plan organizes 108 fragmented parcels into a citywide trail network that connects 806+ acres of vacant lands, over 99% of which are located in the 100-year floodplain. The Lumberton Loop greenway system also connects each of the report’s focus areas.
More than a static plan, the Lumberton Community Floodprint established customizable, highly adaptive strategies for repurposing buy-out properties into natural infrastructure assets. The results are ongoing planning, design and implementation of communal greenspaces that mitigate flood risks, sustainably manage stormwater, and promote active and passive uses such as recreation and physical activity, community events, environmental education, habitat restoration and river-based eco-tourism.