Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

This paper discusses coastal resilience as an organizing framework for future policymaking, coastal planning, and insurance decisions, and explores the different perspectives of the value of ecosystems held by various stakeholders in Rhode Island’s coastal communities. A grounded theory approach was used in an effort to abstract general insights from the substantive but isolated areas of coastal management and economics. Special attention is given to the perspectives of municipal decision makers, the National Flood Insurance Program, natural economists, and real estate developers. We have (1) conducted a statistical analysis of environmental spending of RI towns, (2) identified key models for ecosystem services valuation, (3) researched the major threats to coastal ecosystems, and (4) explored how the coastal resilience theme might shape the future of the coast. Elements of the study rely on the formulation and testing of hypotheses. However, the analysis was primarily a demonstration of the inter-disciplinary emergent thinking that this paper proposes will provide solutions for coastal communities’ most pressing issues. The framing question is how social, personal, and environmental goals align when coastal resilience is enhanced, and how stakeholders can utilize these new decision-making tools to achieve increased communication and a more accurate understanding of the perceived value of ecosystem services.