Date of Degree

5-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Earth & Environmental Sciences

Advisor(s)

Juliana A. Maantay

Subject Categories

Geography

Keywords

Coastal Flood Hazard; Exposure; GIS; Index; New York City; Social Vulnerabilty

Abstract

This work uses a GIS-based methodology to develop and map a composite physical exposure, social vulnerability, and critical facilities index for New York City populations exposed to the current and predicted 100- and 500- year coastal floods. The objective is to illustrate how sea-level rise may affect future 100- and 500-year coastal floods in New York City, how these changes in future flood scenarios will affect the number and distribution of people at risk and their associated physical and socioeconomic impacts, and how these impacts will vary among neighborhoods.

Sea-level rise throughout the 21st century will result in increased flood exposure as current flood levels are achieved more frequently and new flood levels result in more widespread inundation. To increase the resiliency of coastal communities and allow populations to respond and recover to these hazards, it is important to develop a place-based understanding of how storm surge exposure, impacts, and community vulnerability will change over time. Both the physical and socioeconomic impacts of flooding events are often unevenly distributed, with socially vulnerable groups most likely to experience a disproportionate share of the detrimental effects. When both physical and socioeconomic vulnerability are present in combination, the risk to populations is exacerbated. Physical exposure, social vulnerability, and critical infrastructure are combined to form an overall storm surge flood risk index that characterizes site-specific neighborhood levels of risk to flood hazard. Results show that future sea-level rise will increase the population at risk to the 100- and 500-year coastal floods, particularly under scenarios of potential population growth and distribution in the coastal and near-coastal zones. New York City must consider sea-level rise in their long term planning efforts to make coastal communities more resilient to future flood hazards.

Included in

Geography Commons

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