Beach Management Practices and Occupation Dynamics: An Agent-Based Modeling Study for the Coastal Town of Nags Head, NC, USA

  • Ayse KaranciEmail author
  • Liliana Velásquez-Montoya
  • Juan F. Paniagua-Arroyave
  • Peter N. Adams
  • Margery F. Overton
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 24)


The analysis of interactions between human and natural systems is crucial for sound beach management practices. Those interactions can be simulated via agent-based modeling. Nevertheless, more work is needed to identify and understand model capabilities prior to societal implementations. This study presents the application of an agent-based model in the coastal town of Nags Head, NC USA. The case study focuses on the influence of storm arrival patterns and soft-engineering design alternatives on town occupation dynamics. The agent-based model consists of three interactive sub-models: (1) Natural Processes and Coastal Landforms, (2) Beach Management, and (3) Household Decisions. Modeling results indicate that sea level rise will exacerbate storm damages and could lead to a declining town population. In addition, analysis of occupancy with soft-engineering design alternatives suggests that population in Nags Head maximizes when economic benefits and protection from both, dunes and beaches, are balanced. Our results serve to exemplify the usage and capabilities of an agent-based model for beach management practices in coastal towns subjected to storms and sea level rise. Application of the model provides valuable insights of the system that can ultimately be used by decision-makers and town managers.


Human-nature interaction Coastal population Coupled human-physical systems Community attractiveness Soft-engineering Storm-arrival patterns 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ayse Karanci
    • 1
    Email author
  • Liliana Velásquez-Montoya
    • 1
    • 2
  • Juan F. Paniagua-Arroyave
    • 3
    • 2
  • Peter N. Adams
    • 3
  • Margery F. Overton
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental EngineeringNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Marine Sciences Group, Department of Earth SciencesEAFIT UniversityMedellinColombia
  3. 3.Geomorphology Laboratory, Department of Geological SciencesUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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