Reducing community risk to coastal erosion with managed relocation

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As climate change escalates and coastal populations increase, adaptation to ongoing risks to coastal communities due to rising sea levels and storm surges must be reassessed. In Australia, over $25 billion of coastal property is at substantial risk from inundation and erosion. The response by governments to coastal hazards has been to construct artificial sea barriers in a hold-the-line approach of investing in sea walls and beach nourishments1 to protect
beachfront residential properties. However, are such structures reducing the long-term risk in an era of climate uncertainty? Is sand renourishment of beaches a sustainable solution to increasing erosion on the coast? Can planned
relocations be implemented in planning policies? Sea walls perpetuate ongoing threats to coastal development and a shift in the methodology of land-use
planning and adaptation for coastal communities must occur. This would be in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (UNDRR 2015) goal of strengthening disaster risk governance. A greater emphasis
must be placed on strategic planning that directs people away from high-risk beachfronts. This research uses qualitative case studies to understand how local
governments in New South Wales address the increasing risks to coastal residential development and the connection between government and risk hierarchies. A framework is proposed to integrate national risk hierarchies into state and local government planning to assist in managing strategic relocations and implementing nature-based solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-58
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Journal of Emergency Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


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