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Engaging Stakeholders in Resilience Assessment and Management for Coastal Communities Open Access

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Coastal hazards including storm surge, sea-level rise, and cyclone winds continue to have devastating effects on infrastructure systems and communities despite the costly investments already being made in risk management to mitigate predicted consequences. Risk management has generally not been sufficiently focused on coastal resilience with community stakeholders involved in the process of making their coastlines more resilient to damaging storms. Thus, without earlier stakeholder involvement in coastal resilient planning for their community, they are frustrated after disasters occur. The US National Academies has defined resilience as “the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from and more successfully adapt to adverse events” (National Research Council (NRC), 2012). This dissertation introduces a methodology for enabling stakeholder-involved resilience evaluation across the physical, information, cognitive and social domains (DiMase, Collier, Heffner, & Linkov, 2015; Linkov et al., 2013). The methodology addresses the stages of resilience: prepare, absorb, recover and adapt and integrates performance assessment of risk management project initiatives with scenario analysis to characterize disruptions of risk-management priorities (Linkov, Fox-Lent, Keisler, Della Sala, & Sieweke, 2014b). The goal of the methodology is not to find the “right” solution set of priorities by quantitative means., but to develop a methodology for dialogue among the stakeholders. Rather, the purpose is to develop a methodology that would allow stakeholder involvement in the process of making their coastal communities more resilient by determining important resilience stages and domains, critical functions of the system, project initiatives for consideration, and potential future scenarios of concern. Stakeholder qualitative comments are transformed into quantitative inputs to produce qualitative outputs. The results of the methodology allow the stakeholders to easily “see” the priorities and the resilience stages and domains. The methodology is illustrated through a case study at Mobile Bay, Alabama, USA and then illustrated again through a second case study of Southeast Region of Florida and produces more focused results for the stakeholders. The research findings as broadly implemented will benefit federal and local policymakers and emergency responders, business and community leaders, and individual homeowners and residents in the United States and the International Community.

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