Plans and Prospects for Coastal Flooding in Four Communities Affected by Sandy
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Plans and Prospects for Coastal Flooding in Four Communities Affected by Sandy

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  • Journal Title:
    Weather, Climate, and Society
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    The risk of coastal flooding is increasing due to more frequent intense storm events, rising sea levels, and more people living in flood-prone areas. Although private adaptation measures can reduce damage and risk, most people living in risk-prone areas take only a fraction of those measures voluntarily. The present study examines relationships among individuals’ beliefs and actions regarding flood-related risks based on in-depth interviews and structured surveys in communities deeply affected by Superstorm Sandy. The authors find that residents recognize the risk of coastal flooding and expect it to increase, although they appear to underestimate by how much. Although interview participants typically cited climate change as affecting the risks that they face, survey respondents’ acceptance of climate change was unrelated to their willingness to tolerate coastal flooding risks, their beliefs about the effectiveness of community-level mitigation measures, or their willingness to take individual actions. Respondents who reported greater social support also reported both greater tolerance for flood risks and greater confidence in community adaptation measures, suggesting an important, but complex role of personal connections in collective resilience—both keeping people in place and helping them to survive there. Thus, residents were aware of the risks and willing to undertake both personal and community actions, if convinced of their effectiveness, regardless of their acceptance of climate change.
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    Weather, Climate, and Society, 9(2), 183-200
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