Coastal Hazards, Risk Perceptions and Reality

Authors: Huili Hao*, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Devon Eulie, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Jeffery M. Hill, University of North Carolina Wilmington
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Sustainability Science, Tourism Geography
Keywords: Coastal Hazards, Risk Perceptions, GIS
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Balcony B, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Coastal North Carolina (NC) is subject to severe weather events, erosion, and flooding in low-lying areas of the coastal plain. It also ranks third in the nation in the frequency of hurricane strikes. Yet many property owners in these regions are unware that their properties are located in areas subject to climate- and weather-related natural hazards. This study will therefore bridge this information gap by identifying and comparing the reality of these risks with property owners’ risk perceptions. Three coastal counties in NC (Pender, Brunswick and Currituck) were selected for this study based upon their proximity to the coast, tourism and recreation assets, and high concentration of vacation homes. The objectives were to: 1) investigate the awareness and attitudes of property owners regarding the potential impact of climate and weather on property ownership and values; 2) identify factors that most influence these attitudes; and 3) compare the reality of risk with property owners’ perception of risk. Geographically Weighted Regression analysis was used to identify factors that influence property owners’ perceptions of potential climate and weather effects on their property. Results from this study, especially spatially-based data regarding both risk and risk perception, will delineate factors that could be used to identify neighborhoods and households that would most benefit from differentiated risk reduction programs. This will prove to be relevant in informing emergency mangers and stakeholders of ways in which public knowledge of, and perception of, risk may influence individual and community decisions to increase resiliency to coastal hazards.

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