Conference paper
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Abstract: During the last 50 years there has been a significant development of the coastline leading to substantial population growth in coastal areas worldwide. This trend is also observed in Australia where about half of its population lives within 7 km of the coast. Coastal settlements located in low-lying coastal areas are considered to be vulnerable to climate risks, including sea-level rise, storm surges and coastal and riverine flooding. While the severity of climate risks affecting those areas may lead to widespread damage and disasters, they might generate opportunities for change to occur in their socio-ecological systems therefore improving their resilience and adaptation to natural hazards. This paper investigates how these opportunities can be optimised through bottom-up collaborative planning approaches by focusing on the coastal local government area of Shoalhaven, NSW. Located in the southern NSW coast, many coastal settlements in Shoalhaven have recurrent risk of bushfire, riverine flooding and coastal inundation. The paper focuses on a distinctive collaborative planning initiative carried out with two coastal communities seeking to maximise opportunities to improve their resilience and adaptation to those risks. The paper describes the methodology involved in the collaborative planning process and discusses lessons learnt from both experiences which can inform future bottom-up collaborative planning initiatives

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