Honors Thesis Defense- Andrew Shea

Andrew Shea
Environment Economy Development and Sustainability
Advisor: Dr. Sathya Gopalakrishan

The Effects of Natural Capital Investment on Coastal Communities' Resilience to Natural Hazards

Over half of the world's population lives and works near the coast. Climate change poses an increasing inherent risk to coastal communities. Rising sea level and increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters have the ability to decimate coastal infrastructure and economies. To increase protection from these hazards investments in coastal protection, in the form of green or gray infrastructure, can be made. Investment in this infrastructure has been shown to yield economic returns in the form of increased property values. While coastal adaptations clearly increase property values, it is not entirely sure to what extent coastal adaptation investments affect the economic resilience of a community after a natural hazard, such as a hurricane or flood. Communities that have invested in coastal protections are compared to communities that have not invested in coastal protections with regards to their resilience. This is analyzed by comparing property v  alues after a natural hazard of communities that invested in protections and those that did not. Using a hedonic pricing method which looks at the attributes that make up property values, this study aimed to value coastal adaptation investments and measure resilience. While the data from Dare County, NC showed that beach nourishment increases property values while the results were inconclusive for living shorelines. For nourishment investments resilience was found after Hurricane Sandy but not after Hurricane Arthur.