Climatic Change

, Volume 127, Issue 3–4, pp 493–504 | Cite as

Evacuation as a climate adaptation strategy for environmental justice communities

  • Laura KuhlEmail author
  • Paul H. Kirshen
  • Matthias Ruth
  • Ellen M. Douglas


With rising sea levels and possible storm intensification due to climate change, current United States urban coastal flood management strategies will be challenged. Due to limitations of current flood management strategies, evacuation is likely to become increasingly prominent in many coastal areas. Thus it is important to think critically about challenges for successful evacuation planning, particularly for vulnerable communities. This paper brings together the evacuation planning, climate change and environmental justice literatures. We describe the unique challenges that environmental justice communities face with evacuation, and identify best practice guidelines to improve the quality of evacuation planning for these communities. The guidelines presented, while not comprehensive, provide a framework for planners and policymakers to consider when developing evacuation plans, both for current and future climate conditions, and could improve the quality of evacuation planning.


Social Capital Adaptation Strategy Social Vulnerability Disaster Risk Reduction Adaptation Option 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was funded by grants from the NOAA Sectoral Applications Research Program (SARP; NAO08OAR4310722), NSF research grant 0966093 IGERT: Water Diplomacy, and a research grant from BP to the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy at the Fletcher School.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Kuhl
    • 1
    Email author
  • Paul H. Kirshen
    • 2
  • Matthias Ruth
    • 3
  • Ellen M. Douglas
    • 4
  1. 1.Center for International Environment and Resource Policy, The Fletcher SchoolTufts UniversityMedfordUSA
  2. 2.Environmental Research Group, Civil Engineering Department & Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and SpaceUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA
  3. 3.School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, and Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA
  4. 4.School of the EnvironmentUniversity of Massachusetts BostonBostonUSA

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