Monday 5
How does social change in coastal communities influence social learning?
Anne Leitch, Katrina Brown, Ywenn de la Torre, Helene Rey-Valette
› 11:05 - 18:00 (6h55)
› Sète
Resilience, Anticipation, and Adaptation: emergent forms of governance in the face of sea level rise
William Butler  1@  
1 : Florida State University  (FSU)

Submitted as part of an organized session: Collaborative Resilience in Practice I: Governance

With around 40% of the world's population living near the coast, accelerated sea level rise will be one of the most fundamental challenges to coastal community resilience in the coming decades. The capacity to adapt in the face of changing system dynamics is essential for resilience in general and particularly important to coastal resilience to both the acute hazards of coastal storms and the chronic hazards of accelerating sea level rise. What is less well understood is how planners and managers can enhance resilience and build adaptive capacity in the face of such complexity and uncertainty.

In this paper, I examine how some local communities in Florida, United States are addressing these challenges through collaborative approaches to sea level rise adaptation. Adaptation planning and strategy implementation is hampered by existing forms of governance and a lack of political will and technical capacity to address sea level rise adaptation needs. Florida's Adaptation Action Area (AAA) initiative for enhancing resilience to coastal flooding and erosion hazards associated with climate change sets the stage for voluntary action on the part of local governments in the state. However, there are some local governments that have recognized the cross jurisdictional nature of the impacts of sea level rise and associated vulnerabilities. In response, they have created new voluntary collaborative institutional forms to leverage expertise and resources.

Through case studies of two examples of these emergent forms, the Southeast Florida Climate Change Compact and the Southeast Florida Regional Partnership, this paper seeks to explore the extent to which such voluntary collaborative institutions can engender the adaptive capacity necessary to plan for and adapt to the rising seas. The paper examines the emergence of these institutional forms, their governance structures and decision making processes, the capacities and resources they are able to build and leverage through these collaborative groups, and the implications for building community resilience in the face of natural hazards associated with climate change. The study is grounded in the planning practice literature on scenario planning, visioning, and plan horizons (e.g. Hopkins, 2001), the principals of adaptive management and adaptive capacity (e.g. Adger et al., 2005; Folke, 2006), and emerging understanding about how climate change will affect rates of sea level rise and tropical cyclone intensity (e.g. Titus, 2009).


Adger, W.N., Hughes, T.P., Folke, C., Carpenter, S.R., & Rockstrom, J. 2005. Social-ecological resilience to coastal disasters. Science, 309, 1036-1039.

Folke, C. 2006. Resilience: The emergence of a perspective for social–ecological systems analyses. Global Environmental Change, 16, 253-267.

Hopkins, L. D. 2001. Urban development: The logic of making plans. Washington, DC: Island Press.

Titus, J.G. (Ed.) 2009. Coastal sensitivity to sea-level rise: A focus on the mid-Atlantic region. Synthesis and Assessment Product 4.1. Washington, DC: U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research.

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