Adaptation Planning Strategies for the Built Environment

There are several types of sea level rise adaptation strategies used in the planning process to assist coastal communities. Strategies for the built environment can be categorized into three groups based on their objectives:

1. Accommodation – Accommodation strategies adapt to rising water levels through design measures such as elevating infrastructure or implementing stormwater improvements. Although they do not prevent flooding or inundation, they can be suitable for location-dependent structures. Elevating residential homes is an example of an accommodation strategy used along the coast in the Matanzas Basin area.


An elevated residential home on A1A in St. Augustine, FL.

2. Protection – Protection strategies mitigate the impacts of rising seas through defensive mechanisms. Armoring is a “hard” protection strategy that is used often in historically significant areas. For instance, seawalls are used in St. Augustine to protect its historic downtown. Beach renourishment is a “soft” protection strategy that is used by coastal communities to decrease vulnerability.

riprapRiprap along A1A, in Vilano Beach. Courtesy of Daron Dean at the St. Augustine Record.

3. Planned Relocation – Planned relocation involves the actual movement of development and infrastructure away from high risk areas. Prompting a relocation includes acquisition of vulnerable areas to prevent future development. Acquisition can occur through transfer of development rights, rollings easements, or conservation easements. St. Augustine witnessed the retreat of infrastructure with the rerouting of A1A Beach Blvd due to increased flooding and inundation.

a1aarrowsThe arrows indicate the locations of the new and old A1A in Summer Haven, FL.

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