Using a High-Precision Flood Risk Assessment Tool to Understand Commercial Building and Market Impacts in the United States

28 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2022

See all articles by Jeremy R. Porter

Jeremy R. Porter

City University of New York; Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health; First Street Foundation

Date Written: December 8, 2021


Environmental changes are predicted to exacerbate changes in flood events, resulting in consequences for exposed systems. While the availability and quality of flood risk analyses are generally increasing, very little attention has been paid to flood impacts related to the commercial market. This is notable given that the commercial market is often made up of the most valuable physical structures in communities, employs much of the local labor force, and generally plays a key role in the sustainability of economies. This study provides the first national spatial model of flood risk for commercial and multi-unit residential buildings at a property level resolution within the United States. This is achieved through the use of high-resolution inputs (hazard and property data), flood hazard information for the four major flood types, multi-return period hazard information, component-based depth-damage functions, GDP and economic multipliers information, and future facing projections. This study estimates that over the next 30 years, the absolute count of commercial and multi-unit buildings with risk will increase 8%, structural damage costs will increase 25.4%, downtime days will increase 29.1%, and economic impacts will increase 26.5%. Additionally, these impacts are concentrated in certain spatial locations. A high resolution model capturing flood risk as related to these commercial buildings is important for a comprehensive understanding of overall flood risk within the United States.

Keywords: Flood risk, climate change, commercial buildings, economic impacts

JEL Classification: R10, R14, R15

Suggested Citation

Porter, Jeremy R., Using a High-Precision Flood Risk Assessment Tool to Understand Commercial Building and Market Impacts in the United States (December 8, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Jeremy R. Porter (Contact Author)

City University of New York ( email )

365 5th Ave.
New York, NY 10026
United States

Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health ( email )

600 West 168th St., 6th Floor
New York, NY 10032
United States

First Street Foundation ( email )

Brooklyn, NY 11203

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