Facing Challenges of Sea Level Rise

NPC17 attendee
APA member
List Price
Group viewing

Certification Maintenance

CM | 1.25

You'll learn about:

  • Learn about the ways in which other planners are dealing with sea level rise in their communities.
  • Learn about data, tools, and other resources planners are using to effectively plan for sea level rise. 
  • Learn about integrating sea level rise planning into the planning process.

Planning for sea level rise is one of the most difficult challenges planners are facing today. While the profession has long accepted that sea level rise is happening, the intractable questions of “how much” and “how soon” have plagued the decision-making process. Existing data tends to focus on broad impacts and general estimates for rise over large swaths of shoreline. Generally, this information is not nearly fine enough for community planners facing skeptical citizens and elected officials. Yet the uncertainty of local sea level rise impacts should not supersede the general facts that sea level is rising, often more quickly than predicted, that communities are grappling with its very real impacts, and that it is expected to continue well into the future.

This facilitated discussion will encourage the open exchange of ideas among planners on how to deal with the local impacts of sea level rise. What zoning tools are planners using? What sort of data is needed?  How do you plan for expensive infrastructure in the midst of such uncertainty? This session seeks to develop answers to these questions and more by tapping the practical experiences of planners dealing with the messy reality of sea level rise today.

About the Speakers

James Schwab
From 2008-2017, Jim Schwab managed APA’s Hazards Planning Center, but his direct engagement with natural hazards and disaster issues began in 1993. He managed an innovative project funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to develop a PAS Report, Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction. The report became a cornerstone in the planning profession in the development of an entire subfield devoted to hazard mitigation and disaster recovery. By 2014, with the publication of Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation, accompanied by the creation of substantial online resources for the planning community, Jim brought the subject forward again. Jim managed several other major APA projects dealing with hazard mitigaiton and climate change adaptation. Jim left APA in 2017. Jim is currently the chair-elect of APA's Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Recovery Planning Division. He is the principal of Jim Schwab Consulting LLC, a firm he created after leaving APA. He is also adjunct assistant professor at the University of Iowa School of Urban and Regional Planning, an author working on a two-book series on the 1993 and 2008 Midwest floods, and a public speaker, and maintains his own blog, "Home of the Brave," on his personal website, www.jimschwab.com.

Joseph DeAngelis
Joseph DeAngelis is a Research Associate with APA’s Hazards Planning Center specializing in storm recovery, resiliency, and climate adaptation planning. He received his planning degree from CUNY-Hunter College, where he researched post-Hurricane Sandy recovery and adaptation on the East Shore of Staten Island. Joe has worked for the New York City Mayor’s Office, the National Park Service, and until March 2016 as a Flood Resiliency Planner with the Staten Island office of the New York City Department of City Planning. While with DCP Joe worked on the Resilient Neighborhoods Initiative, a community planning program focused on long term land use, environmental, and economic resiliency in coastal neighborhoods in the five boroughs.