Thresholds and contingencies: A design process for regional coastal resilience

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Sustainable Coastal Design and Planning, 2019, pp. 277 - 292
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Adaptation for climate change and resilience in coastal regions outside urban centers will be a protracted program. Cities, with their high population densities and capital investment, are deemed most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and hence this is where most research and money is invested. However, the impacts of climate change in underfunded coastal regions are likely to be no less significant. From a resilience perspective, these regions provide a back-up service to the cities. They provide biodiversity and recreation opportunities and, with worldwide food and water scarcity likely to be one of the most significant threats of climate change, and as producers of a high percentage of these resources, they have the potential to contribute to global solutions.Although the climate change impacts associated with rural, urban, and suburban sites in coastal regions are similar, the challenges are somewhat different. For coastal farms to remain viable, access to land is critical, but inundation from flooding and sea level rise is likely to effectively diminish arable land in low lying areas by up to 50% in some cases. And, because land is relatively cheap, extensive suburban development continues to occur along the seafront with road networks that prioritize waterfront views for individual houses over neighborhood amenity and community networks. Perhaps most significant is that there are very few financial incentives to alter the status quo. This chapter addresses a way of thinking about adaptation to climate change in regional coastal areas that relies not on financial incentives and government policy, but rather on a community-based approach.
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