Adaptation planning for sea level rise: a study of US coastal cities
Sea level rise (SLR) is expected, even without greenhouse gas emissions. As SLR is inevitable, adapting to its impacts has received increasing attention, and local governments are the key actors in this emerging agenda. This study indicates that adaptation planning for SLR should be integrated into two local major planning mechanisms in the United States: the local comprehensive plans and hazard mitigation plans. By evaluating 36 plans from 15 US coastal cities that are considered at high risk and vulnerable to rising sea levels, the results demonstrate that SLR is widely identified, but the overall quality of the plans to address it requires significant improvement. A detailed table of selected plans’ characteristics is also provided as a lens on how localities tackle this challenging issue. The paper concludes with planning suggestions for coastal communities to better adapt to SLR.