Shannon Van Zandt's scholarship is at the intersection of affordable housing with disaster impacts, resilience, and recovery, with particular interest in how residential land use patterns exacerbate or mitigate exposure to natural hazards, specifically flooding. She focuses on pre-disaster planning that prevents the exorbitant costs, both financial and on individual lives, that recent hurricanes have wrought on coastal communities, as well as how to mitigate these events in the future. Van Zandt has served as PI or co-PI on nearly $4 million in external funding from the NSF, the National Institute of Standards & Technology, the Army Corps of Engineers, and others. She is also an author of the 2014 book, Planning for Community Resilience: A Handbook for Reducing Vulnerability to Disasters, along with more than 45 other journal articles, book chapters, and technical reports.
In Texas, Van Zandt serves on the board of Texas Housers, one of the nation's premiere advocacy organizations for low-income housing, and an active advocate for housing recovery after Hurricanes Ike, Dolly, and now Harvey. She is Executive Associate Dean of the School of Architecture at Texas A&M University in College Station, and is a Senior Fellow in the School's Hazard Reduction & Recovery Center.