Planning for social justice, anticipating sea level rise: the case of Lake Macquarie, Australia

Lana Frost, Fiona Miller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change will affect communities in diverse and differentiated ways, so adaptation approaches must strive to address social justice in order to reduce inequality. This paper applies a social justice framework to examine planning for sea level rise in a densely populated coastal settlement in eastern Australia. The Lake Macquarie area is highly vulnerable to sea level rise with local adaptation planning already underway. An in-depth case study is presented that draws upon 19 interviews with key informants and householders and a structured document and media analysis from 12 newspapers. This qualitative data was analysed to identify: the range of understandings of what is just in planning for sea level rise; and key factors that influence perceptions of justice in planned retreat scenarios. The study concludes that there is a need for guiding principles in decision-making that explicitly address social justice in order to realise more equitable outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-190
Number of pages20
JournalAustralian Geographer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • climate change adaptation
  • planning
  • policy
  • resilience
  • sea level rise
  • social justice
  • vulnerability


Dive into the research topics of 'Planning for social justice, anticipating sea level rise: the case of Lake Macquarie, Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this