ARISE-US And Waterfront Alliance Partner To Create Coastal Resilience Scorecard

June 14, 2024

 ARISE-US and Waterfront Alliance are partnering to create a scorecard to assist coastal cities in assessing their resilience to sea level rise, storms and storm surge, and tsunamis.

According to estimates, over 410 million people (World Economic Forum) and 20 percent of the world’s GDP will be at significant risk by 2100 due to sea level rise and the chronic flooding it will bring.  Increasingly frequent and intense coastal storms and their storm surge, salt-water intrusion into freshwater aquifers, and coastal erosion will amplify these numbers. Whatever course the world takes with respect to reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs), some proportions of the adverse impacts are already “committed” as future given sea levels will continue to rise for millennia while the risk of tsunamis remain a constant. Unsurprisingly, with the effects of climate change already being felt, the subject of coastal resilience is attracting major attention from governments, the finance community, coastal residents, and the NGO community.

Related: Harlem Born Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Falkowski Talks 2100 Harlem Mega Flood.

Coastal resilience is a “system-of-systems” problem. Building or increasing coastal resilience in a community requires intervening in multiple natural, physical, economic, government, political, social, and cultural systems, and managing the relationships between these systems. The first step in identifying, prioritizing, and delivering successful resilience measures is creating a holistic understanding of the current state and risk. What are the actual hazards faced; what is thereby in harm’s way; and how complete are emergency response and adaptation measures?

ARISE-US has considerable experience in creating assessment tools to help communities identify the strengths and weaknesses of their current position, and framing plans that will lead to increased resiliency. The UN DRR’s City Disaster Resilience Scorecard and its various addenda have now been used by many hundreds of cities globally. ARISE-US authored the scorecard and many of the addenda.

Waterfront Alliance leads the WEDG® (Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines), a rating system designed to push waterfront sites to meet high resilience, ecological, and accessibility standards. WEDG has been adapted by cities and projects across the U.S. and accredited more than 750 practitioners across three continents. Together, ARISE-US and Waterfront Alliance will combine their expertise to create a truly holistic tool that factors the critical challenges and solutions that need to be considered.

All of the ARISE-US scorecards are based on the Sendai Framework concept of the Ten Essentials for Making Cities Resilient. Focusing on this framework results in a broader and more complete treatment of the issues. Communities already using another resilience standard should carry on doing so, while considering where the Ten Essentials may expand their view of capabilities:

  1. Organize for Disaster Resilience – stakeholder identification and inclusion, and governance structures, processes and procedures.
  2. Identify, Understand and Use Current and Future Risk Scenarios – understanding of what might happen.
  3. Strengthen Financial Capacity for Resilience – funding, donations, budgets, incentives, and co-benefits.
  4. Pursue Resilient Urban Development and Design – in essence, land use and building codes – and whether these are enforced.
  5. Safeguard Natural Buffers – understanding which ecosystem services may be making you more resilient, protecting these, and enhancing them over time.
  6. Strengthen Institutional Capacity for Resilience – making sure you have access to the data and skills needed, and that the data is being shared as needed.
  7. Understand and Strengthen Societal Capacity for Resilience – community engagement and understanding of the roles that everyone must play.
  8. Increase Infrastructure Resilience – protecting and hardening physical systems.
  9. Ensure Effective Disaster Response – event response coordination and procedures.
  10. Expedite Recovery and Build Back Better – how much of any required post event recovery and social/economic “reboot” can be planned in advance?  (Hint – it’s much more than most people – and professionals – realize!)

ARISE-US and Waterfront Alliance intend to produce the first draft of the scorecard by the end of 2024.

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