InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Coastal Processes, Hazards and Society > Section 4: Society and Policy Making
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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The materials are free and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
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Society and Policy Making

Authors: Brent Yarnal, David Retchless, Nathan Frey, Li-San Hung, Pennsylvania State University

Summary and Overview

Section 4 builds on earlier units in the course by placing their lessons about the physical processes of coastal systems and strategies for coastal management in a policy making context. It addresses several important policy questions, including: (1) How can policy makers use the concept of vulnerability to prioritize protection of coastal people, places, and property?; (2) How can the disaster management cycle inform decisions about preparing for and responding to short- term coastal hazards such as tsunami and storm surge?; and (3) How can techniques such as stakeholder analysis, cost benefit analysis, and adaptation pathways be used to plan for long-term changes to coastal vulnerability caused by sea-level rise?

Strengths of the Section

Section 4 introduces the key concepts and analytical tools for understanding policy making for coastal hazards, including:

  • The three-dimension model of vulnerability, the disaster management cycle, and cost-benefit analysis
  • The use of real-world data for coastal communities (including census and hazard data)
  • Many formative activities that guide students through the exploration of these concepts, tools, and data and encourage them to ask questions
  • Finally, the summative activities require students to engage with these concepts, tools, and data by using them to complete vulnerability analyses and planning exercises for hazard mitigation and response.

Context

This section serves as the three-week finale of the semester-long course, Coastal Processes, Hazards, and Society. The course focuses on geology, hazards, engineering, and policy, and the main foci of this section are on the policy and hazards components of the course. Although it is intended for use as a component of the full online or blended course, it could potentially be used on its own as a component of a different course and its modules can be used individually.

Section Goals

Arriving at Section 4, students have an understanding of the physical processes that impact coastlines, the significant hazards that threaten coastal communities, and the role of engineering in protecting coastal assets. In this section we consider the role of policymakers in protecting vulnerable coastal regions. On completing this module, students will be able to:

  • Analyze how coastal vulnerability emerges from the complex interactions among coastal hazards, people, and the natural and built environment; and
  • Apply disaster management, planning, and policy-making tools to coastal human-environment systems.

Section Outline

Assessment

Assessments are described in individual modules.

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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »