T. G. Frazier, N. Wood, and B. Yarnal
Applied Geography (December 2010)
Sustainable land-use planning requires decision makers to balance community growth with resilience to natural hazards. This balance is especially difficult in many coastal communities where planners must grapple with significant growth projections, the persistent threat of extreme events (e.g., hurricanes), and climate-change-driven sea level rise that not only presents a chronic hazard but also alters the spatial extent of sudden-onset hazards such as hurricanes. We examine these stressors on coastal, long-term land-use planning by reporting the results of a one-day community workshop held in Sarasota County, Florida that included focus groups and participatory mapping exercises. Workshop participants reflected various political agendas and socioeconomic interests of five local knowledge domains: business, environment, emergency management and infrastructure, government, and planning. Through a series of alternating domain-specific focus groups and interactive plenary sessions, participants compared the county 2050 comprehensive land-use plan to maps of contemporary hurricane storm-surge hazard zones and projected storm-surge hazard zones enlarged by sea level rise scenarios. This interactive, collaborative approach provided each group of domain experts the opportunity to combine geographically-specific, scientific knowledge on natural hazards and climate change with local viewpoints and concerns. Despite different agendas, interests, and proposed adaptation strategies, there was common agreement among participants for the need to increase community resilience to contemporary hurricane storm-surge hazards and to explore adaptation strategies to combat the projected, enlarged storm-surge hazard zones.
keywords: Adaptation planning; Resilience; Collaborative spatial decision making; Participatory mapping; Vulnerability; Hurricane storm surge; Sea level rise; Stakeholder; Florida