Harnessing Digital Technologies to Empower Communities for Resilient Housing

An Impact Research project to support Penn State University in investigating potential pathways to climate resilient housing in Pennsylvania. Sponsored by Penn State University

Harnessing Digital Technologies to Empower Communities for Resilient Housing

Flooding has been a recurring problem in Pennsylvania, USA, since 1889. Predictions indicate that roughly 13% of the state’s properties will encounter flooding within the next 30 years. A substantial rise in extreme temperatures is also expected, with summer temperatures projected to increase by 12.88°F and days exceeding 90°F could surge from an average of 10 to 20-30 days annually. Globally, floods from storms and extreme temperatures contribute to 41% of severe weather-related deaths. Extreme weather has also disproportionately affected racial minorities, children, the elderly, and women – who experience 14 times more pronounced impact than men. In safeguarding households from climate change’s adverse effects, resilient housing plays a crucial role.

The main objective of this project was to uncover digital technologies that foster public awareness, offer data-driven vulnerability information to local authorities, enable financing access, streamline programs, deliver informed technical assistance, and advance equity.

The starting point of this project was researching historical data and climate change predictions related to flood and extreme heat hazards in Pennsylvania, which was followed by an investigation of households’ needs, the resilient housing process, initiatives, and interactions among stakeholders within the household’s path to resilient housing.

It was also important to extract insights from successful global resilient housing programs and explore the ways in which digital technologies can drive demand, creating a win-win relationship among stakeholders and streamlining the pathway to resilient housing. The result of this project is a comprehensive report that focuses on the digital technology framework, uncovering existing and new technologies that empower communities seeking resilient housing in flood and extreme heat-prone areas in Pennsylvania.


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