Disaster recovery is usually a fairly top-down process. Big relief organizations like FEMA, the Red Cross, United Way and others, dole out government and philanthropic dollars to families who can navigate complex bureaucratic processes and meet certain economic or demographic specifications. It is clear that the impact of Hurricane Harvey demands a massive response that is in line with the scale of these organizations, but it is also true that these aid groups often replicate the social dynamics that facilitate placing some neighborhoods and households in areas that have high flood risks and dangerous exposure to environmental hazards in the first place.

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