The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) announced today that “Boomtown, Flood Town,” a collaboration between ProPublica and The Texas Tribune, won an AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award in the online category. The story by Al Shaw from ProPublica, Kiah Coller from The Texas Tribune and Neena Satija from The Texas Tribune and Reveal exposes the risk that Houston residents face as major storms cause massive flooding. It specifically focuses on the impact of Houston’s unmanaged development on increasing flood risks.
The team combined geographic data obtained from local governments, academic researchers, FEMA, USGS and the Houston-Galveston Area Council to create a series of interactive maps that explains how successively worse storms, sprawling development and the loss of coastal prairie endangers lower lying, often older parts of the city.
Rami Tzabar, awards judge and development editor for BBC Radio Science and World Service, called the story “a forensic analysis of everything that is wrong with current (and past) attitudes to flooding, an innate misguided belief that every major event is a freak of nature and that we can engineer our way out of the problem whilst largely ignoring the cause.”
See a list of all 2017 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award winners here.