A Method for building community resilience to climate change in emerging coastal cities

Timothy F. Smith, Phillip Daffara, Kevin O'Toole, Julie Matthews, Dana C. Thomsen, Sohail Inayatullah, John Fien, Michelle Graymore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Rapidly urbanising coastal locations represent prototypes of future cities. While these "sea change" locations will face a range of issues associated with rapid growth such as infrastructure provision and enhancement of social capital, anticipated environmental impacts are likely to add significant challenges. Climate change is likely to have dramatic impacts on sea change communities through diminished potable water supplies, rising sea levels, storm surges, and increased intensity of flood events - with indirect impacts on health, financial sectors, and biodiversity. Given the inherent diversity within sea change communities with regard to age, culture, and socio-economic status there are likely to be differences in ways of adapting, the ability to adapt, and the desired direction of any changes. Cognizant of the potential enormity of climate change impacts, the need for rapid responses, and the diversity within communities, this paper proposes a participatory and transformative method to work with communities in responding to climate change and variability within rapidly urbanising coastal locations. The method focuses on determining probable futures for various communities of place and interest within sea change areas and aims to build the capacity for dynamic on-going learning to achieve those futures, both within and between the communities. Through this process community members may be empowered with dynamic and future-orientated learning skills that build upon community knowledge, innovation, and resilience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-679
Number of pages7
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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