Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Climate Adaptive Governance in Coastal Communities: Information, Planning, and Preparedness

Friday, November 13, 2015 : 1:30 PM
Board Room (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Younsung Kim and Julie Ross, George Mason University
Climate change adaptation has gained prominent attention from policymakers in recent years. In the U.S., states have specifically become important actors in creating coastal zone management policies, initiatives, and programs to reduce susceptibility to climate risks and to improve protection against extreme weather events (e.g., floods, sea-level rises, and storms). Despite the emergence of programs/initiatives, little research has systematically examined the climate adaptation policy approaches as well as the efficacy of strategies, policies, and measures adopted and implemented for coastal communities. This study fills this research gap by investigating major policy approaches of coastal storms management programs adopted by the U.S. states as well as undertaking an in-depth case study of an information-based policy tool, StormSmart Coasts. StormSmart Coasts is the pioneering coastal land management program created by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management in 2008 and aims at providing local decision makers and communities with the latest and best information on how to adapt to the impacts of weather and climate hazards. It has later been expanded to a national online platform for coastal resiliency planning with 9 participating states. The findings suggest accessibility, user friendliness, and inclusiveness as crucial criteria for measuring the efficacy of information-based policy tool that promotes meaningful participation of coastal communities. This study also provides a network governance model in which states play a critical role in facilitating climate-induced disaster management in coastal areas.