Assessment of Sea Level Rise Adaptation Options: Multiple-Criteria Decision-Making Approach Involving Stakeholders
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Purpose - The Gold Coast is a low-lying coastal Australian city and many residential areas are subject to 1:100 year flood events. Evidently, there is a need for the city to adapt to sea level rise by developing more effective policies to reduce its destructive impacts. Thus, the purpose is to identify and evaluate preferred adaptation alternatives to reduce the vulnerability to sea level rise and storm surges. Design/methodology/approach - In this research, we explore stakeholders' opinions for adaptation alternatives to adapt to the impacts of sea level rise. As part of exploring alternatives to improve Gold Coast's resilience to climate change effects we are undertake a multi-criteria analysis by using the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP). The goal, criteria and adaptation alternatives were derived, and based upon, adaptation programs, existing adaptation works by local governments, and an extensive literature review. The final AHP structure was developed after further consultations with three local stakeholders (Politicians, Experts and Residents). Findings - The results show that across the three stakeholder groups, Effectiveness and Sustainability are the criteria of highest priority, respectively. When considering adaptation alternatives, the highest priority for Politicians and Residents is Improving Building Design whilst for Experts Improving Public Awareness is of most importance. Research limitations/implications - While the present research involved the stakeholders prioritising their options for the decision-making process, the study did not explore the reasons underlying stakeholders' decisions. Therefore, future research is needed to analyse the relations between the decision making and the stakeholders' behaviour and attitude. Additionally, the economic and social costs related to SLR and SS were not addressed by the current study, as these areas did not fit within the research scope. Future research could investigate the cost of adaptation, such as land values, and loss of income, etc. Practical implications - The novelty stemming from this research lies in the utilisation of MCDA approach for adaptation assessment. To the best of the author's knowledge, this is the first time that assessment of adaptation alternatives have been incorporated into decision making to develop adaptation strategies in a coastal area of the Gold Coast, Australia. Thus, in terms of taking a particular technique (MCDA) and applying it in a new area, the proposed approach demonstrates a high degree of scientific rigor and contributes original theoretical insights, as well as technical originality. Originality/value - The AHP provides a straightforward approach to evaluate the adaptation alternatives from multi stakeholders' perspectives. Advantages are its versatility in application to coastal processes and its inclusion of the multiple stakeholder in the decision making process.