Understanding adaptation: Lessons from local adaptive measures to coastal risks and hazards – A case study of kukup water village, Malaysia

Jia Yen Lai, Hsien–Hsin H. Cheng

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Globally, rising sea levels could have the most significant impact on developing countries, which have limited adaptive capacity to face the challenges of climate change. Through a case study of Kukup water village in Malaysia, this study seeks to understand the influence of coastal risks and hazards on coastal settlements’ spatial development, local construction measures for the adaptation of the coastal environment, and the implication of local adaptive measures on environmental policy and coastal management. The study used historical records and qualitative semi-structured interviews for data collection, and presented the spatial development and construction measures using an open-access 3D modelling tool, “SketchUp”. The study finds that natural, socioeconomic and cultural factors have contributed to the adjustment of spatial arrangement and that local adaptive measures reflect the local perception of coastal risks and hazards. More research is needed to understand the effects of cultural factors on adaptive capacity and how cultural aspects of adaptation can contribute to the improvement of adaptive capacity that is sensitive to different social context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-23
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Design and Built Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaption
  • Adaptive Capacity
  • Determinants
  • Kukup
  • Water Settlement

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