Gavin Smith

North Carolina State University

Gavin Smith is a Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture at North Carolina State University. His research focuses on hazard mitigation, disaster recovery, and climate change adaptation and the integration of research and practice through deep community engagement. Educational efforts include the development of a graduate certificate in disaster resilient policy, engineering, and design and helping to coordinate a university-wide effort focused on disaster resilience spanning research, teaching, and engagement-related activities. Dr. Smith has written the text Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: A Review of the United States Disaster Assistance Framework (Island Press, 2011) and served as the co-editor of the text Adapting to Climate Chance: Lessons from Natural Hazards Planning (Springer, 2014) as well as writing numerous peer reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and practice-oriented reports. Smith was a co-PI on a six-year study assessing the quality of state and local hazard mitigation plans. Smith’s current research includes assessing the state of disaster resilient design education at U.S. Universities, the analysis of a national survey assessing the role of states in building the capacity of local governments to implement hazard mitigation grants and a comparative assessment of hazard-prone housing acquisition programs in the US, New Zealand, and Australia.

Smith has also served as a policy advisor to a number of nations, states, and local governments addressing planning for post-disaster recovery, flood-hazard risk reduction, and climate change adaptation. Dr. Smith has advised four governors including Governor Hunt following hurricanes Fran and Floyd and Governor Barbour following Hurricane Katrina. During Hurricanes Fran and Floyd, Smith led teams responsible for the acquisition and elevation of more than 5,000 and 500 homes respectively. More recently, Smith led a team of eight faculty, eighteen graduate students, and two practitioners assist six hard-hit low capacity communities following Hurricane Matthew. This effort, which lasted more than two years, focused on addressing local needs not addressed by FEMA or the State of North Carolina. Examples include identifying multiple uses for land acquired through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, conducting land suitability analyses to identify locations suitable for the construction of replacement housing outside the floodplain but within the boundaries of towns participating in the buyout, assessing possible flood-proofing techniques for historic downtowns, creating housing plans for replacement housing, and developing disaster recovery plans.