Abstract Title

Session S-10G: Green Infrastructure to Achieve Ecosystem Recovery Goals and Natural Hazard Mitigation

Keywords

Shorelines

Start Date

2-5-2014 1:30 PM

End Date

2-5-2014 3:00 PM

Description

This paper provides an overview of the disaster vulnerability of coastal communities on the Salish Sea. In addition to natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and floods (both riverine and coastal), coastal communities in this region are at risk from human-induced and technological disasters such as oil spills and terrorism threats. Vulnerability – or the propensity to suffer loss when a hazard event occurs – is affected by many factors related to geographic setting, the built environment, economic conditions, socio-demographics characteristics, and institutional context. In a case study of Metro Vancouver, this paper identifies and compares key vulnerability factors in the context of three major hazards: earthquakes, coastal flooding, and oil spills. The paper then provides a qualitative discussion of the potential for green infrastructure approaches to reduce these key vulnerability factors. Worldwide, some coastal communities struck by disasters have been undertaking ecosystem restoration and green infrastructure initiatives to reduce their future vulnerability (e.g., following Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and the 2011 Tohoku earthquake/tsunami). The benefits of green infrastructure for reducing disaster vulnerability are, however, both context-dependent and as yet poorly understood. In the case of Metro Vancouver, this paper suggests that some vulnerability conditions, including development in low-lying delta areas, may be ameliorated by green infrastructure approaches such as tidal wetlands restoration. Other vulnerability conditions, such as the high reliance of most coastal and island communities on maritime transportation systems that could be severely disrupted in a disaster, are less amenable to green infrastructure approaches.

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May 2nd, 1:30 PM May 2nd, 3:00 PM

Reducing Disaster Vulnerability of Coastal Communities on the Salish Sea

Room 6E

This paper provides an overview of the disaster vulnerability of coastal communities on the Salish Sea. In addition to natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and floods (both riverine and coastal), coastal communities in this region are at risk from human-induced and technological disasters such as oil spills and terrorism threats. Vulnerability – or the propensity to suffer loss when a hazard event occurs – is affected by many factors related to geographic setting, the built environment, economic conditions, socio-demographics characteristics, and institutional context. In a case study of Metro Vancouver, this paper identifies and compares key vulnerability factors in the context of three major hazards: earthquakes, coastal flooding, and oil spills. The paper then provides a qualitative discussion of the potential for green infrastructure approaches to reduce these key vulnerability factors. Worldwide, some coastal communities struck by disasters have been undertaking ecosystem restoration and green infrastructure initiatives to reduce their future vulnerability (e.g., following Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and the 2011 Tohoku earthquake/tsunami). The benefits of green infrastructure for reducing disaster vulnerability are, however, both context-dependent and as yet poorly understood. In the case of Metro Vancouver, this paper suggests that some vulnerability conditions, including development in low-lying delta areas, may be ameliorated by green infrastructure approaches such as tidal wetlands restoration. Other vulnerability conditions, such as the high reliance of most coastal and island communities on maritime transportation systems that could be severely disrupted in a disaster, are less amenable to green infrastructure approaches.