How does resilience planning impact vulnerability to flooding in coastal cities?

Authors: Sara Meerow*, Arizona State University, Sierra Woodruff, Texas A&M, Bryce Hannibal, Texas A&M, Philip Gilbertson, Arizona State University, Malini Roy, Texas A&M, Melina Matos, Texas A&M
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Coupled Human and Natural Systems
Keywords: resilience, coastal flooding, urban governance
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/11/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 49
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The risks and costs of flood damages for coastal cities are increasing. Resilience planning is an increasingly popular framework for coordinating hazard mitigation and planning more generally. Research suggests that concept’s malleable meaning allow resilience to function usefully as a “boundary object.” As such, resilience planning is theorized to help increase collaboration and avoid counterproductive outcomes that arise from treating interrelated problems in isolation. Many cities are now ostensibly engaged in resilience planning, however the extent to which resilience is actually transforming planning processes, stakeholder collaboration, or mitigation of long-term flood risks is unclear. This study seeks to fill this gap, empirically examining how resilience is conceptualized by different organizations involved in flood planning, whether it does, in fact, seem to bring together different stakeholders and lead to more integrated plans and policies that are likely to reduce physical vulnerability to flooding in the built environment. We combine findings from a stakeholder survey, social network analysis, and various methods of plan analysis in four different U.S. coastal cities (Fort Lauderdale, FL, Baltimore, MD, Boston, MA, and Seattle, WA). As one of the first studies to use network analysis to assess conceptualizations of resilience across a governance network, the coordination of organizations engaged in resilience planning, and to evaluate the influence of coordination on plan integration and quality, this study will test existing theories on resilience, urban governance, and planning.

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