We aim to explore how proposed strategies affect distributional social equity along the northern coast. In the context of building adaptive capacity to respond to acute and chronic hazards, distributional social equity can be defined as the ability of a community to provide fair access to resources and promote strategies that account for different households’ ability to adjust and enact mitigation measures [1].

Understanding how distributional social equity functions at a local level is critical in determining feasible hazard adaptation strategies [2,3]. To many communities, resiliency means more than just coping with hazards, but improving livelihoods and well-being of community residents. By this definition, adaptation strategies that simultaneously improve livelihoods and protect quality of life while reducing the risks associated with chronic and acute hazards are preferred. For example, while tsunami hazard overlay zones can reduce hazard exposure to residents, many communities do not have the capacity to assess how this strategy may impact low-income households or other marginalized populations who may be unable to absorb housing price volatility or the cost of housing upgrades associated with a hazard overlay zone.

The Oregon Coastal Futures project includes two social scientists who will examine how potential public actions intended to build community resilience for sea level rise (chronic) and earthquake/tsunami (acute) hazards can have uneven impacts across groups or populations. This team of researchers will conduct in-depth interviews and focus group interviews with different population segments (e.g. Latinx, low-income) along the north coast and non-profit organizations that serve them. Participants will be asked to visualize how public policy actions increase hazard resilience such as building retrofits or changes in zoning and land use, among others, might impact their ability to live, work, and access needed resources in their community. The results of these interviews will allow Envision to more fully understand and model the ramifications of specific policy actions for community residents. Moreover, this data will detail the many factors to consider when creating equitable policy solutions for hazard mitigation and resilience and serve as an important resource to local, regional, and state decision-makers.


[1] Elrick-Barr, C.E., Preston, B.L., Thomsen, D.C. and T.F. Smith, 2014. Toward a new conceptualization of household adaptive capacity to climate change: applying a risk governance lens. Ecology and Society, 19 (4)

[2] Schlosberg, D., Collins, L., and S. Niemeyer, 2017. Adaptation policy and community discourse: risk, vulnerability, and just transformation. Environmental Politics, 26 (3), 413437.

[3] Shi, L., Chu, E., Anguelovski, I., Aylett, A., Debats, J., Goh, K., Schenk, T., Seto, K., Dodman, D., Roberts, D., Roberts, J.T, S. Van Deveer, 2016. Roadmap towards justice in urban climate adaptation research. Nature Climate Change 6, 131-137.

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