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Nashville: flooding and foreclosure.

In May 2010, Nashville., Tenn., witnessed flooding at an even greater scale than Atlanta's September 2009 flood. Property damage extended to commercial and civic districts downtown. Damage to private property was estimated at $1.56 billion. (1)

The data analysis used in the Atlanta case study was replicated for Nashville using identical data sources and methodology to compare the impacts of the disaster on communities in the two metropolitan areas and to begin to identify the most vulnerable areas in the Nashville area. FEMA floodplain data were available for only four counties (Davidson. Williamson, Sumner, and Rutherford), an area that includes the city of Nashville (which spans nearly the entire area of Davidson County) and multiple suburban enclaves. Because of the limitation of available data, the analysis was limited to these four counties, although dozens of counties were declared federal disasters. As with the Atlanta region, Nashville suburbs most at risk of foreclosures and flooding (4th quartile; see figure 1) tend to be lower income with a larger minority population and a lower homeownership rate than the least at-risk ZIP codes (1st quartile; see figure 2). Nashville, like Atlanta, is likely to experience increased complications in recovery from the flooding and foreclosures because of the high degree of social vulnerability in affected neighborhoods.



In the three months following the flooding, approximately 300 homes were purchased as part of a buyback program intended to relocate households to prevent repeat flooding. The vacant properties will be left undeveloped, as green space or parks. (2) Although these 300 homes are only a small percentage of the approximately 11,000 properties damaged, this sort of innovative approach is noteworthy. Still, as in Atlanta, the current financial climate constricts the availability of financial support for impacted households, which presents acute problems for the most vulnerable communities.



(1) Valerie Banerlein and Kelly Nolan, "After flood, Nashville faces the music," Wall Street Journal. May 10, 2010,

(2) Michael Cass, and Natalia Mielczarek, "Nashville government sends 305 flood buyout letters," Nashville Tennessean, June 23, 2010, buyout+letters.
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Publication:Partners in Community and Economic Development
Geographic Code:1U6TN
Date:Mar 10, 2011
Previous Article:Under water in more ways than one: assessing the impact of historic flooding and foreclosures on Atlanta's vulnerable communities.
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