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 the Kevin Youngblood Professor of Residential Land Development and head of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning in the College of Architecture. She also is associated with the Hazard Reduction & Recovery Center, Department of Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning, Texas Target Communities and the Center for Housing and Urban Development.