Transformation and Resilience on Urban Coasts

WHY THIS PROJECT

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OBJECTIVES

  • 1) Conceptualise resilience, transition and transformation for urban sustainability and security
  • 2) Develop and test an integrated approach for biophysical and social vulnerability assessment
  • 3) Provide space for stakeholders, researchers and students to reflect on urban development and risk management priorities and approaches.

TRUC is a collaboration of social, environmental and climate researchers, and policy stakeholders. Its aim is to develop and test a novel integrated framework to examine the interactions between development pathways, social and environmental systems dynamics and policy decision-making in the production and management of vulnerability to extreme events (i.e. heat waves and flooding) generated through large scale coastal urbanization processes. TRUC offers a step-change in coordinated research on urbanization and the coast applicable to global as well as local/city level impact. TRUC brings together seven world leading teams engaged in cognate but thus far parallel research trajectories, it concentrates complementary research expertise to a degree that would be difficult with individual national funding. Embedding core science teams with teams from case study cities provides a mechanism for two-way learning and the building of a community of practice around the TRUC approach that reaches across four continents. This adds considerable value to existing local empirical, conceptual and methodological expertise held by individual PIs; and by extension to TRUC as a whole.

The heart of TRUC is an integration of biophysical and social science approaches to vulnerability assessment. Coupling these methods provide a comprehensive vulnerability and adaptation analysis and policymaking tool. This will bring substantial analytical power to existing methods and add value to past research investments made by individual Belmont funding states.

Specific contributions to arise from integration will be:

  • (1) Twenty year, historical vulnerability assessments based on the integration of biophysical process and hazard data with quantitative vulnerability model outputs to explore the consequences for vulnerability distributions of individual changes in policy or development pathway, e.g., how far concretisation exacerbates flooding, for whom and when.
  • (2) Future scenario analysis for 2030 and 2050 based on combined model outputs to appraise key trends in the processes shaping future urban morphology and hazard conditions, and the purchase development and risk management policy can have on this, e.g. on green spaces and retention areas, or upgrading informal settlement, and implications for the distribution of vulnerability and hazard exposure.

    Resolution will be neighbourhood scale and city-wide. This analysis is important to better understand coupled social-environmental urbanization and risk processes in megacities, including the influence of decision-making culture, and of direct utility to urban stakeholders balancing alternative risk management and underlying development goals. While providing an overarching framework the integrated methodology will be influenced by the data availability of individual case study sites, sensitivity analysis will help to advance these scenario tools even further. The variety of case study cities included in TRUC will test its global applicability.
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