Engaging Stakeholders in the Sea Level Rise Design Process: A Pilot Project on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

By Victoria Chanse.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 20, 2016 $US5.00

One aspect to developing successful responses to local sea level rise requires engaging stakeholders in thinking about local adaptation and design responses. Sheppard et al. found that civic engagement in climate change led to clarifying options for adaptation and mitigation. The question of how to involve residents in this type of design process encompasses examining different approaches to public involvement in the design process for sea level rise. This paper examines the case study of a project on Maryland’s eastern shore. With a projected sea level rise of 1.4 feet by 2050 and 3.7 feet by 2100, Maryland is one of the most vulnerable states to sea level rise in the United States. This case study addresses the larger question of how to involve the human dimension in developing adaptation responses to the uncertainty of sea level change. This project examines a project in Dorchester County, Maryland, a county that is predicted to lose approximately sixty percent of its landmass by 2100 due to sea level change. Different approaches were used to engage stakeholders in developing local responses to sea level change. This work is innovative because stakeholder workshops around potential responses to local climate change are relatively new. For the Dorchester project, design responses by landscape architecture were developed to visualize alternative responses to sea level change. Some of the areas of design exploration examine the potential displacement of buildings, wetland migration, and adaptation to shorelines. This project on civic engagement in climate change design and planning is used to investigate how transdisciplinary approaches may provide (1) new ways of framing the problem, (2) new collaborations and processes in solving the problem, and (3) engaging stakeholders to visualize new responses to sea level change.

Keywords: Sea Level Rise Communication, Stakeholders, Civic Engagement, Adaptation, Visualization, Design

International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 8, Issue 3, September 2016, pp.81-88. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 20, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 729.398KB)).

Victoria Chanse

Assistant Professor, Plant Science & Landscape Architecture, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA


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