Coastal Resilience as a Four Letter Word

Authors: Adam Griffith*, University of North Carolina - Charlotte
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Coastal and Marine, Hazards and Vulnerability
Keywords: resilience, coastal, coastal resilience, adaptation, climate change
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Muses, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Resilience is typically viewed as a positive, desirable attribute of human and natural systems and the goal of “building coastal resilience” has emerged in the press, academic literature, and government publications as the dominant post-disaster narrative for coastal communities and individuals. Use of the term has increased dramatically in recent years, but absent in the research is a ubiquitous and concise definition of coastal resilience in practice. This research gap is significant given the recent spike in billion dollar coastal disasters and subsequent funding coastal resilience building activities have received. Here, I use a systematic review of coastal resilience building plans and literature at multiple spatial scales to answer the following questions: 1) How is coastal resilience quantified? 2) Are goals and success metrics bounded by time? 3) Do coastal resilience building plans sacrifice the long-term safety of individuals by encouraging them to continue to live in flood prone areas? The U.S. has chosen adaptation as the strategy of choice along the majority of its coast and increased levels of development in this area extremely vulnerable to climate change exacerbated flooding. This research also raises questions about the long-term sustainability and equity of U.S. coastal management practices.

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