Achieving Hazard-Resilient Coastal and Waterfront Smart Growth

In August 2011, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the state Sea Grant College Programs of Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Texas hosted a two-day roundtable meeting of national experts from the fields of smart growth, hazard mitigation, climate change adaptation, and coastal management. The roundtable brought together these experts to share ideas about how coastal and waterfront communities could improve quality of life, use land and other resources efficiently, and create environmentally and economically sustainable neighborhoods while minimizing risks from natural hazards related to coastal and waterfront flooding. This report provides an overview of ideas shared during the roundtable. The information is intended for NOAA, EPA, other federal agencies, and National Sea Grant College Program partners, as well as organizations and practitioners working on smart growth and hazard mitigation issues to help them consider opportunities for further research, product development and services, and integration of the fields.

Themes in the report include opportunities and challenges; siting and design; plans and policies; engagement, communication, and education; and research gaps and needs. The roundtable participants identified several opportunities and challenges that arise when coastal and waterfront communities consider both smart growth and hazard mitigation strategies. Examples of suggestions on how to site and design development to meet coastal and waterfront communities’ social, economic, environmental, and hazard mitigation goals are organized in three sections including siting strategies, design strategies, and mitigating risk to development by retrofitting or relocating.

The ways in which practitioners could integrate coastal smart growth and hazard mitigation strategies through existing planning mechanisms are presented, along with potential incentives and current disincentives for facilitating integration. The roundtable discussed the importance of engaging and educating coastal and waterfront communities to encourage the implementation of hazard-resilient smart growth approaches. On this topic, the participants' comments are organized in four sections including stakeholder engagement, technical assistance techniques and tools, education and capacity building, and communications. Also, the report presents specific research and products that may be needed for achieving integrated coastal smart growth and hazard mitigation strategies.

This report is available on NOAA's Coastal and Waterfront Smart Growth website, which offers links to a number of related publications and resources.

Publication Date: September 21, 2012

Related Organizations:


  • Coastal
  • Land management and conservation

Resource Category:


Go To Resource