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Many urban coastal communities are experiencing more profound flood impacts due to accelerated sea level rise that sometimes exceed their capacity to protect the built environment. In such cases, relocation may serve as a more effective hazard mitigation and adaptation strategy. However, it is unclear how urban residents living in flood-prone locations perceive the possibility of relocation and under what circumstances they would consider moving. Understanding the factors affecting an individual’s willingness to relocate because of coastal flooding is vital for developing accessible and equitable relocation policies. The main objective of this study is to identify the key considerations that would prompt urban coastal residents to consider permanent relocation because of coastal flooding. We leverage survey data collected from urban areas along the East Coast, assessing attitudes toward relocation, and design an artificial neural network (ANN) and a random forest (RF) model to find patterns in the survey data and indicate which considerations impact the decision to consider relocation. We trained the models to predict whether respondents would relocate because of socioeconomic factors, past exposure and experiences with flooding, and their flood-related concerns. Analyses performed on the models highlight the importance of flood-related concerns that accurately predict relocation behavior. Some common factors among the model analyses are concerns with increasing crime, the possibility of experiencing one more flood per year in the future, and more frequent business closures resulting from flooding.
Low elevation coastal zones (LECZ) are extensive throughout the southeastern United States. LECZ communities are threatened by inundation from sea level rise, storm surge, wetland degradation, land subsidence, and hydrological flooding. Communication among scientists, stakeholders, policy makers and minority and poor residents must improve. We must predict processes spanning the ecological, physical, social, and health sciences. Communities need to address linkages of (1) human and socioeconomic vulnerabilities; (2) public health and safety; (3) economic concerns; (4) land loss; (5) wetland threats; and (6) coastal inundation. Essential capabilities must include a network to assemble and distribute data and model code to assess risk and its causes, support adaptive management, and improve the resiliency of communities. Better communication of information and understanding among residents and officials is essential. Here we review recent background literature on these matters and offer recommendations for integrating natural and social sciences. We advocate for a cyber-network of scientists, modelers, engineers, educators, and stakeholders from academia, federal state and local agencies, non-governmental organizations, residents, and the private sector. Our vision is to enhance future resilience of LECZ communities by offering approaches to mitigate hazards to human health, safety and welfare and reduce impacts to coastal residents and industries.more » « less
Coastal communities are increasingly exposed to more intense and frequent hurricanes, accelerated sea-level rise, and prolonged tidal inundation, yet they are often a preferred retirement destination for older adults vulnerable to flooding and extreme weather events. The unique physical and psychosocial challenges of older population age 65 and over may affect their level of preparedness, capacity to cope with, and ability to respond and recover from a hazard event. Despite the clear vulnerabilities of older residents living in high-risk areas when compared to younger coastal populations, there is a lack of empirical research on the integrated flood risks to this population group in the coastal context. This paper provides a holistic assessment of this emerging problem along the U.S. East Coast by measuring the exposure of older population to sea level rise and storm surge in coastal counties. It further evaluates how age-related vulnerabilities differ between rural and urban settings using the case study approach and geospatial and statistical analysis the paper also conducts a review of scientific literature to identify gaps in the current understanding of health and well-being risks to aging populations in coastal communities. The results show that older populations are unevenly distributed along the U.S. East Coast with some states and counties having significantly higher percent of residents age 65 and older living along the shoreline. Many places with larger older populations have other attributes that further shape the vulnerability of this age group such as older housing stock, disabilities, and lower income and that often differ between rural and urban settings. Lastly, our study found that vast majority of research on aging in high-risk coastal locations has been conducted in relation to major disasters and almost none on the recurrent nuisance flooding that is already affecting many coastal communities.more » « less
Maps synthesizing climate, biophysical and socioeconomic data have become part of the standard tool‐kit for communicating the risks of climate change to society. Vulnerability maps are used to direct attention to geographic areas where impacts on society are expected to be greatest and that may therefore require adaptation interventions. Under the Green Climate Fund and other bilateral climate adaptation funding mechanisms, donors are investing billions of dollars of adaptation funds, often with guidance from modeling results, visualized and communicated through maps and spatial decision support tools. This paper presents the results of a systematic review of 84 studies that map social vulnerability to climate impacts. These assessments are compiled by interdisciplinary teams of researchers, span many regions, range in scale from local to global, and vary in terms of frameworks, data, methods, and thematic foci. The goal is to identify common approaches to mapping, evaluate their strengths and limitations, and offer recommendations and future directions for the field. The systematic review finds some convergence around common frameworks developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, frequent use of linear index aggregation, and common approaches to the selection and use of climate and socioeconomic data. Further, it identifies limitations such as a lack of future climate and socioeconomic projections in many studies, insufficient characterization of uncertainty, challenges in map validation, and insufficient engagement with policy audiences for those studies that purport to be policy relevant. Finally, it provides recommendations for addressing the identified shortcomings.
This article is categorized under:
Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change > Values‐Based Approach to Vulnerability and Adaptation