SAGE creates a network of U.S., Caribbean and European engineers, geoscientists, ecologists, social scientists, planners and policymakers. Together we develop and promote a robust interdisciplinary analytic framework for the wide range of possible infrastructure responses to coastal hazards across a range, or gradient, of urban to rural areas. This allows policy-makers to have clearer selection criteria for location-appropriate and climate-adapted sustainable coastal infrastructure policy.

Project title: Sustainable Adaptive Gradients in the Coastal Environment (SAGE): Reconceptualizing the Role of Infrastructure in Resilience
NSF Research Collaboration Network (RCN): Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability (SEES)
Project period: January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2018

Who?  Our new network of U.S., Caribbean and European engineers, geoscientists, ecologists, social scientists, planners and policymakers is designed to build connections among diverse disciplines and improve the flow of information among leading researchers on these topics.   The project generates greater participation among U.S. students and researchers in, and improve student and professional access to, training in coastal resilient infrastructure design, planning and policy-making.

What?  The RCN’s products are annual, intensive three- to four- day workshops, we also produce webinars, a training module synthesizing our findings, a survey of educational pathways in resilient infrastructure, journal publications and white-papers for policymakers translating our research findings into accessible language. All of these activities promote a diverse and comprehensive research network that fosters the development of transformative, policy-relevant research initiatives.

Why?  Caribbean communities have experience and expertise in planning for and responding to coastal hazards, while the Northeast has infrastructural and research capacity on this topic. Recent storm events in the U.S. Northeast demonstrate that there is a pressing need for coordinated research into the resilience of coastal infrastructures to current hazards and the evolving effects of climate change. Infrastructure here includes physical structures, ecological services, and the social practices that influence the impact of hazards such as hurricanes and coastal flooding.

How?  We understand communities as existing and evolving within adaptive gradients, including by rural/ urban, social capacity, sub surface soils and coastal geography, and culture. To build our framework we address spill-over and equity effects of infrastructure decisions, evidence regarding the impacts of fast-onset disasters (e.g., hurricanes, tsunamis) to improve practices and policies for chronic, slow-onset phenomena (e.g. sea level rise), and tie the application of our theory to increasingly available indicators of climate change and local conditions.

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