[First three paragraphs from the Summary]
This project is a part of a broader initiative - the Resilience Adaptation Feasibility Tool (RAFT) - that addresses the daunting challenges coastal communities are facing related to sea level rise and climate change (more information about RAFT is available here: https://ien.virginia.edu/raft).
This aim of this project was to investigate how residents and business owners in low-to-moderate income communities in Portsmouth, Virginia cope with flooding, and to assess implications for how the local government can better engage with residents to better meet their information needs so they can be more resilient to flooding. The report uses two sources of data to assess our current knowledge of the experiences of these residents and business owners and their approaches to flood resilience: (1) the 2015 Adaption Response to Recurrent Flooding study1 conducted for the City of Portsmouth by Old Dominion University researchers, and interviews conducted in summer 2018 by the current research team. Combined, the findings from the 2015 survey and 2018 interviews suggest that although individual residents and business owners have more severe perceptions of flooding, very few actually invest in private mitigation efforts like purchasing flood insurance.
Vulnerable residents in the low-to-moderate income Portsmouth neighborhoods that are the focus of this project are living in a “new normal.” This “new normal” is a way of life in which residents have learned to adapt to frequent flood events by utilizing their social networks despite facing significant financial constraints. However, this new normal may be in conflict with residents’ efforts to prepare and mitigate the future projections of rising regional sea level rise and nuisance flooding events.
Council, Donta; Covi, Michelle; Yusuf, Wie; Behr, Joshua; Brown, Makayla; Old Dominion University Resilience Collaborative; and Virginia Sea Grant, "The 'New Normal' of Flooding in Portsmouth, Virginia: Perspectives, Experiences, and Adaptive Responses of Residents and Business Owners in Low to Moderate-Income Communities" (2018). Presentations, Lectures, Posters, Reports. 15.