Date of Award

Fall 2022

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Earth and Ocean Sciences

First Advisor

Monica Barra


The state of South Carolina stands at the corner where climate change and the housing crisis meet. The affordable housing stock across South Carolina continues to deplete as its major cities experience urban flooding events due to outdated and weakened infrastructure, compounded by an intensification of storm systems brought on by a changing climate. Lower income communities are forced to accept lesser living conditions and less resilient housing options because these options are more affordable. Renters are often met with more challenges when navigating disaster recovery compared to homeowners. Using a case study established in Columbia, South Carolina of the 1000- year rainfall event that occurred October 2015, this project is grounded in a qualitative inquiry centered around the experience of renters immediately following the flood and an evaluation of Columbia’s flood mitigation efforts since 2015.

To inform this inquiry, tenants/landlords, community organizers, and legal aid professionals participated in semi-structured interviews. These interviews were supplemented with participatory observations from South Carolina Eviction Consortium meetings and document analyses spanning across dozens of news reports and disaster summary reports by national, state, and local agencies. With the support of this research, this thesis argues municipal response to urban flooding should take a “housing first” approach to ensure urban flooding’s impact on the affordable housing stock is weakened


© 2022, Mary Hannah Lindsay