CoastalRes: Coastal Resilience Model Prototype, 2019-2020

Townend, Ian H and Carpenter, Stephen and Hill, Chris and Brown, Sally and French, Jon and Haigh, Ivan and Lazarus, Eli and Nicholls, Robert J and Penning-Rowsell, Edmund and Tompkins, Emma (2021). CoastalRes: Coastal Resilience Model Prototype, 2019-2020. [Data Collection]. Colchester, Essex: UK Data Service. 10.5255/UKDA-SN-854523

Sea-level rise is one of the most profound aspects of human-induced climate change and its steady but uncertain rate of rise will transform the world's coasts in the coming decades. While this is understood in a technical sense, wider society has not grasped the scale of change produced by expected rise in sea level over the next century. Many defences are uneconomic to maintain and renew, and widespread 'realignment' is planned within the strategic process of Shoreline Management Planning (SMP). Efforts to better understand the full range of adaptation options and their implementation, including realignment, offer potentially significant rewards in terms of tangible enhancement of coastal resilience. CoastalRes aimed to develop and demonstrate prototype methods to assess realistic pathways for strategic coastal erosion and flood resilience in the light of climate change, including sea-level rise. The project demonstrated how resilience to coastal flood and erosion hazard could be measured and applied within policy processes, using England as a case study. Resilience was defined pragmatically, in economic, environmental and social terms, integrating what is presently a disparate set of policy objectives for coastal areas. This definition includes several dimensions of resilience and was used to develop a set of composite indicators for each dimension, grounded empirically with reference to national geospatial datasets. A prototype model was developed, which generated a quantitative resilience index for a given geographical unit (England’s coastal hazard zone being represented at a high spatial resolution, about 8,000 areal units). A range of different stakeholder perspectives were captured using relative indicator weightings. The illustrative results presented in the final report demonstrate the practicality of formalising and quantifying resilience, and the insights obtained mainly concern this process of operationalisation. To re-focus national policy around the stated desire of enhancing resilience to coastal flooding and erosion would require firm commitment from government to develop an approach to monitor progress towards resilience, extending the present risk-based approach

Data description (abstract)

The prototype Coastal Resilience Model (CRM) quantifies the economic, environmental and social dimensions of resilience with reference to a suite of performance measures that can be assessed using open-access geospatial datasets. The analytical approach uses Multiple-Criteria Analysis (MCA) methodology to derive a composite Resilience Index derived from a broad set of diverse measures and data, as well as stakeholder weightings. MCA has been criticised for the inherent subjectivity in the identification of the measures, and their normalisation (scoring) and relative weighting. However, used constructively, it provides an explicit and transparent representation of different stakeholder perspectives and priorities which are an essential component of evaluating resilience. CRM expands current risk-based shoreline management planning to take account of some of the complexity of community characteristics and local priorities, while recognising that these occur within a much broader coastal system. In addition to mapping the current state of coastal resilience, the CRM can also represent past and future resilience. Given suitable hazard and socio-economic scenarios, modelled resilience time trajectories can be created using CRM to reveal the impact of alternative coastal development and adaptive pathways

Data creators:
Creator Name Affiliation ORCID (as URL)
Townend Ian H University of Southampton
Carpenter Stephen National Oceanography Centre
Hill Chris University of Southampton
Brown Sally University of Bournemouth
French Jon University College London
Haigh Ivan University of Southampton
Lazarus Eli University of Southampton
Nicholls Robert J University of East Anglia
Penning-Rowsell Edmund Flood Hazard Research Centre
Tompkins Emma University of Southampton
Sponsors: Natural Environment Research Council
Grant reference: NE/S016651/1
Topic classification: Natural environment
Social welfare policy and systems
Housing and land use
Project title: Coastal resilience in the face of sea-level rise: making the most of natural systems
Grant holders: Robert Nicholls, Jonathan French, Ian Townend, Ivan Haigh, Emma Tompkins, Edmund Penning-Rowsell, Eli Lazarus
Project dates:
1 February 201931 October 2020
Date published: 05 Feb 2021 18:22
Last modified: 05 Feb 2021 18:23

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