New pub: Towards seaport resilience

Becker A, Matson P, Fischer M, Mastrandrea M (2014) Towards seaport resilience for climate change adaptation: Stakeholder perceptions of hurricane impacts in Gulfport (MS) and Providence (RI). Progress in Planning. doi:10.1016/j.progress.2013.11.002 Abstract A growing body of research indicates that climate change is having and will continue to have a range of negative impacts on social–environmental systems. Reducing the vulnerability and increasing the resilience of these systems has thus becomes a focus of research, disaster planning, and policy-making. Seaports, located in environmentally sensitive, high-risk locations, are particularly vulnerable to severe storms and the increased sea levels resulting from such climate changes. Planning and policy making for seaports must therefore consider the human factor, that is the population potentially vulnerable to climate change induced events and also the complex network of stakeholders that depend on their functionality. An increasing body of literature suggests that, for planners to be effective in increasing resiliency of social-environmental systems to climate change-related events and other hazards, they must understand and incorporate the perceptions and concerns of the stakeholders in their assessment and planning processes. This study uses empirical evidence collected through case studies of two particularly exposed ports in the US: Gulfport (Mississippi) and Providence (Rhode Island), in order to examine how port stakeholders such as port operators, municipal planners, port tenants, and coastal managers, perceive storm impacts and the seaport’s vulnerability, and how their planning and policy making address these perceived concerns. Results suggest the following: (1) Port stakeholders of Gulfport (MS) and Providence (RI) identified a wide range of direct damages, indirect costs, and intangible consequences of a hurricane hitting the port; (2) these impacts would result in costs that would be borne by all port stakeholders as well as society as a whole; and (3) in Providence and Gulfport, plans and policies that address storm resilience for the ports did not include the concerns of many stakeholders.