Converting flood-prone properties to green space is a smart way to help mitigate future flooding–but only if you do it strategically.

A year and a half after Hurricane Harvey flooded hundreds of thousands of homes in Houston, the local county government is still buying out flooded properties from some residents. It’s a common process after floods: FEMA provides money to buy the houses at market rate, some homeowners volunteer to sell, and the homes are demolished because it’s very likely that they’ll flood again.

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