Urban Resilience to Climate-Related Disasters: Emerging Lessons from Resilience Policy and Practice in Coastal Tourism Cities

Elnaz Torabi, Aysin Dedekorkut-Howes and Michael Howes


Climate change entails rising sea levels and temperatures, as well as increasing the duration, intensity and/or frequency of extreme weather events such as floods (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] 2007, 2012; Climate Commission 2013). Nearly a quarter of the world’s population lives within 100 km of the coast and this is likely to rise to half by 2030 (Adger et al. 2005). Tourism in many coastal cities is an important part of the economy due to the proximity to water and its amenities. Yet this dynamic global industry is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change on coastal and marine ecosystems, as well as communities, utilities and infrastructure (Becken and Hay 2007; United Nations Environment Programme [UNEP] 2008). The Pacific Region is an important case in point with tourism being the major sector and source of foreign exchange earnings (Baker 2013). Samoa, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, for example, are heavily dependent on tourism (UNEP 2006), but these islands are also highly vulnerable to climate change (IPCC 2007; Keener et al. 2013). Local governments therefore need to better understand vulnerability and resilience in order to integrate climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction with spatial planning (Bajracharya et al. 2011). This paper focuses on resilience planning in coastal tourism cities, using Australia’s Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast as examples. It aims to explore the root causes of urban vulnerability and their implication for enhancing resilience to climate-related disasters in coastal tourism cities.

E. Torabi (H) • A. Dedekorkut-Howes • M. Howes Cities Research Institute, Griffith University,

Gold Coast, QLD 4222, Australia e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

W. Leal Filho (ed.), Climate Change Adaptation in Pacific Countries, Climate Change Management, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-50094-2_14

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