Cultural Landscapes and Adaptation: Identifying the Role of Civic Engagement and Cultural Heritage in Coastal Adaptation Planning
sea level rise
Historic Preservation and Conservation
Recognizing climate change associated threats to coastal environments, civic leaders and policymakers are developing and implementing local adaptation and resilience strategies. Largely absent from this conversation is, however, the cultural heritage of the coast-- the places of local identity, meaning and history. To address this shortcoming, the following study assesses the role of cultural heritage in coastal adaptation planning. The integration of cultural heritage in adaptation planning leads to more holistic, place-based and effective adaptive efforts, and contributes to long-term resilience. Civic engagement is one mechanism for identifying, evaluating and promoting cultural heritage in the coastal planning process. This thesis establishes a theoretical framework relevant to adaptation planning, resilience, place, and civic engagement (Section 2) and evaluates four case studies, featuring communities that have successfully integrated adaptation, resilience, place and civic engagement (Section 3). Establishing a better understanding of how civic engagement is integrated into coastal planning practice today, Section 4 analyzes methods, adaptation planning and civic engagement in 40 coastal municipalities in New Jersey. To conclude, barriers to civic engagement in adaptation planning are identified and recommendations are proposed for developing coastal adaptation planning practices that successfully integrate community vision, local values and cultural heritage.