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372 (1-18)


Urban communities in environmentally sensitive areas face escalating challenges due to climate change and inadequate infrastructural support, particularly in underserved regions like southside Norfolk, Virginia. This area, characterized by its vulnerability to flooding and a predominantly low-income population, lacks equitable inclusion in broader urban flood protection plans. This research focuses on the development of community-centered resilience strategies through active engagement and collaboration with local residents. The methodology centered around building trust and understanding within the community through a series of interactions and events. This approach facilitated a two-way exchange of information, enabling the research team to gather crucial insights on community-valued assets, prevalent flooding issues, and preferred flood mitigation solutions. The engagement revealed a significant increase in community knowledge regarding climate change, sea level rise, and stormwater management. Residents expressed a strong preference for green infrastructure solutions, including rain gardens, permeable pavements, and living shorelines, alongside concerns about pollution and the need for infrastructure redesign. The outcomes of this community engagement have initiated plans to develop tailored, nature-based flooding solutions. These results are set to inform future urban planning and policy, offering insights to the City of Norfolk and the United States Army Corps of Engineers for potential redesigns of flood intervention strategies that are more inclusive and effective. A template for participatory research to inform coastal hazard management includes cross-sector collaboration, a long-term engagement commitment, and education and surveying opportunities to align solutions to lived, local experiences. This template allows for community trust building, which is especially important in environmental justice communities. The study highlights the importance of community involvement in urban resilience planning, demonstrating that local engagement is essential in shaping community-centric solutions and equitable environmental policies.


© 2024 by the authors.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License.

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Article states: Data are contained within the article or Supplementary Material.

Original Publication Citation

Ismael, D., Hutton, N., Erten-Unal, M., Considine, C., Vandecar-Burdin, T., Davis, C., & Chen, Y.-H. (2024). Community-centric approaches to coastal hazard assessment and management in southside Norfolk, Virginia, USA. Atmosphere, 15(3), 1-18, Article 372.


0009-0003-7410-3045 (Ismael), 0000-0003-3623-8849 (Hutton), 0000-0002-8269-3626 (Considine), 0000-0002-0935-4484 (Vandecar-Burdin), 0000-0003-4809-5718 (Chen)