Awards for Graduate Student Research that Benefits North Carolina
Each year, The Graduate School honors graduate students in programs throughout our University for their powerful discoveries that contribute to a better future for people and communities in North Carolina:
Decisions and Resilience: Community and Economic Development Analysis of Post-Disaster Buyouts in Eastern North Carolina
Amanda Martin (AICP), City and Regional Planning
2018 Impact Award
Hurricanes and tropical storms — such as hurricanes Floyd and Matthew — have caused devastating loss of life and property in North Carolina. After Hurricane Floyd hit in 1999, the State of North Carolina administered a Federal Emergency Management Agency program that purchased the homes of 4,500 households in floodplains. Doctoral student Amanda Martin analyzed how post-Floyd buyouts affected the economic well-being of households and communities. She focused on the long-term recovery of residents in two small African-American communities: Princeville and Lincoln City, a neighborhood of Kinston. Princeville declined buyout and relocation, and 97 percent of eligible Lincoln City sellers participated.
Her study findings indicate that buyouts created a significant opportunity for individual homeowners, particularly to move to a neighborhood perceived as higher quality, into better homes, or to a city with more jobs. However, the buyouts caused the loss of community social ties that had provided economic value to residents, such as shared carpooling and childcare. Individuals interviewed as a part of the study reported that this translated into lost jobs for former Lincoln City residents and higher crime in the areas surrounding the buyouts. Renters in buyout areas experienced a lack of housing options, and many turned to subsidized housing.
Martin has shared her ongoing study results with the Hurricane Matthew Disaster Recovery and Resilience Initiative, directed by UNC-Chapel Hill professor Gavin Smith, Ph.D., providing insights to improve buyout implementation in the aftermath of that storm — and the others to come.
“Helping socially vulnerable communities bounce back better from disasters is the driving focus of Amanda’s research.” said adviser Mai Thi Nguyen, Ph.D.