Climate Change as a Survival Strategy: Soft Infrastructure for Urban Resilience and Adaptive Capacity in Australia’s Coastal Zones

Nan Chen, Peter Graham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


This paper outlines the conflicts and synergies between risk and resilience
approaches to climate change adaptation planning in vulnerable coastal areas
of Australia. It examines whether current planning processes shaping vulnerable
coastal settlements in Australia are sufficiently informed to build adaptive capacity for their communities under climate change impacts. Considerable research to date has focused on the application of risk management in identifying vulnerabilities and predicted worst-case scenarios. This approach often proposes ‘hard’ infrastructure changes for climate change adaptation. However, little work has been done looking at the processes for implementing and supporting such adaptation strategies while addressing the inherent uncertainty of future climate change impacts. This so-called ‘soft’ infrastructure is critical to building a community’s ability to innovate and prosper while adapting to unforeseen challenges posed by a changing climate. It is argued that introducing concepts of resilience to municipal planning processes for vulnerable coastal settlements, particularly in development control plans (DCP’s)
may provide a more comprehensive approach to climate change adaptation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResilient Cities: Cities and Adaptation to Climate Change Proceedings of the Global Forum 2010
EditorsKonrad Otto-Zimmermann
Place of PublicationGermany
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-007-0785-6
ISBN (Print)978-94-007-0784-9
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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