TJ8.4 The Place We Call Home: A Critical Analysis of the Risk Perceptions and Place Attachments of Coastal Resident’s at Risk for Sea-Level Rising

Wednesday, 10 January 2018: 2:15 PM
Ballroom F (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Michelle A. Dovil, NCAS-M, Washington, DC

It is not particularly surprising that the world we live in has undergone dramatic changes in the past few decades. These continuous changes have been attributed largely in part to both man-made and natural occurrences. For centuries we have witnessed continents shift, temperatures warm globally, wetlands erode, land submerge, and sea level rise just to name a few. Moreover, with there being little to no chance of these occurrences slowing down this puts particularly vulnerable communities severely at risk. In the United States alone there are over thirty-five coastal communities at risk for sea level rising. According to the Union of Concerned Scientist (2013) sea level rise is changing the dynamics at play along our coasts, and with them our coastal communities, economies, and ecosystems.

Furthermore, there remains a gap in disaster literature regarding the influence of risk perceptions and place attachment on vulnerable populations, specifically those at risk for sea-level rising due to climatic changes. This project seeks to examine two coastal communities that are currently at-risk for sea-level rising. In so doing, the project will present preliminary findings of the risk perceptions and levels of attachment on the place coastal residents call home. The goal of this research is to employ a quantitative approach using survey questionnaires to help explain the significant connections and dynamic relationship between vulnerable populations and land. Specifically, during a time where some of the toughest questions both the public and governmental officials will have to face, relies on not only understanding these populations, but also effectively determining how to appropriately handle this social phenomenon.

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