Conceptualizing Coastal Flood Risks in New England

Hoboken, NJ. Superstorm Sandy 2012.

Between urbanization, economic growth, and climate change, coastal cities are facing increasing flood damage. Despite having technically accurate flood risk forecasts, communities in New England have taken few if any steps to reduce future risks. We believe that there are substantial differences in the way stakeholder groups and technical experts conceptualize the flood risks their communities race, and how they can reduce those risks. We hypothesize that these differences present critical barriers to reaching agreement and taking collective action. In this research, we are conducting stakeholder assessments in coastal New England towns to examine differences in how stakeholder groups conceptualize flood risks. We are comparing the results of this analysis with a review of the approaches that each community has taken towards collective flood risk management. This research is aimed at helping local governments build their capacity to overcome perceptual differences and take action to become more flood resilient.

For more information about this project contact Michal Russo at