Planning for Sea Level Rise in South Australia

By Merinda Edwards and Lou Wilson.

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

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Evidence from the scientific community indicates that anthropogenic or cyclic climate change is associated with sea level rise. This paper discusses a case study of urban and regional planning for sea level rise in South Australian coastal communities. Projections indicate that regardless of whether carbon emissions are reduced today sea level rise will still occur. South Australia’s coastline spans over 5,067 kilometres and contains more than 60,000 buildings which will be affected by sea level rise, coastal flooding and erosion. Supported by a review of relevant coastal planning policy and literature, the research addresses the effects of sea level rise on coastal development, and the role of private enterprise and the three tiers of government in planning for rising sea levels. It is argued that there is fragmentation in the roles of government and the private sector. Private agencies lack information on sea level rise issues, and are not involved early enough in the planning process. For property owners there are no regulations in place that necessitate notification when purchasing or developing a property on action to address sea level rise. It is concluded that planning for sea level rise in South Australia requires input from all sectors to achieve a sustainable coastal planning system and that State Government should take a greater role in coordinating the process. Lessons are drawn for planning in coastal communities more generally.

Keywords: Climate Change, Sea Level Rise, Coastal Communities, Sustainable Planning Systems

International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.233-246. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 795.998KB).

Merinda Edwards

Research Scholar, School of Natural and Built Environments, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

I am a Research Scholar at the University of South Australia. I have research interests in the implications for urban and regional planning of sea level rise associated with anthropogenic and cylcic climate change.

Dr. Lou Wilson

Lecturer in Urban & Regional Planning (Social Planning), School of Natural and Built Environment, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

I am a sociologist at the University of South Australia. I have research interests in sustainable communities, social inclusion/exclusion, social cohesion and social capital. I am currently working on a project that seeks to assess the effectiveness of public expenditure in reducing social exclusion. It seeks to develop innovative new forms of quantitative modelling using geographical information systems (GIS). I am also part of a research team that is developing a model to understand and address tensions between the social, economic and environmental dimensions of urban development and the implications for assessing sustainable development in urban areas.

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