Coastal Training Program - Jacques Cousteau NERR & Barnegat Bay Partnership

Risk Communication

What is resilience or adaptation?

undefinedResilience is the ability for communities and residents to recover after any sort of shock, such as a storm or flood, and still continue to operate normally. As conditions gradually change due to sea level rise and climate change, resilience planning should consider what will happen in the future. This type of preparation often is referred to as adaptation. Resilience planning often is considered to be a part of overall planning to prepare for and adapt to the conditions of a changing climate.

How do communication and public engagement inform the overall resilience process?

Municipalities can do many things through policies to improve overall community resilience. They can enact certain types of building codes. They can, through community planning, designate areas where risk to home and business owners are reduced. They can encourage property owners to elevate or flood-proof their homes or businesses. They can engage their community in discussions about buying-out properties in flood prone areas.  Municipalities also can, through comprehensive planning, designate areas that should remain undeveloped or as parkland. Many steps to build overall community resilience to storms, floods, and other extreme weather impacts have to be taken by individual property owners. In order for property owners to make different decisions or take specific steps, they have to understand the problems, the possible solutions, how they can take those steps, and know where their voices can fit into decision-making processes.

undefinedGood communication is a two-way street. Communities can help property owners and residents by using effective communication to share needed information. Through public engagement, community leaders and municipal workers also can learn more about what residents and stakeholders think about resilience planning. This combination of communication and public engagement helps ensure that community members at all levels are sufficiently educated about the problems and potential solutions, and are able to help municipal officials make planning and policy decisions.

Next: How do you communicate about resilience?

[1]. Thayer, J., Rider, M., Lerch, D. 2013. Resilient against what?: How leading U.S. municipalities are understanding and acting on resilience. Post Carbon Institute. Santa Rosa, Ca


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