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Adaptation Pathways 1.0

A Guide for Navigating Sea-Level Rise in the Built Environment

Adaptation Pathways 1.0 This guide was developed as the synthesis of CES’ 3rd Sea Level Rise Summit: Connected Futures from Alaska to Florida, held May 3-5, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The report in its entirety is available as a PDF document here . See the Executive Summary below:

Executive Summary

This report summarizes the 3rd Sea-Level Rise Summit organized by the Florida Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University. The event, subtitled “Connected Futures from Alaska to Florida,” was held May 3-5, 2016, at the Ft. Lauderdale Hyatt Pier 66. In recent years, many conferences and meetings have identified the problems we face, and outlined some theoretical solutions. What we lacked was guidance for implementing specific adaptations. The goal of the Summit was to produce a first-generation roadmap for adaptation, by translating our knowledge and ideas into action. Our resulting Adaptation Pathways (see Section III of this report) have emerged as the product of intense and sustained interactions with Summit participants, representing a broad cross-section of society.

There are three principal take-away messages from the Summit:

  1. The environmental changes underway in the subtropics and in the Arctic are not unfolding in a vacuum. Our communities also face other challenges, such as the availability of good jobs and rising summertime temperatures. Any new efforts to enhance sea-level or coastal erosion resilience should support not degrade other features of socio-ecological resilience.
  2. To advance along our adaptation pathways, all four sectors of society – private sector, public sector, academia, and civil society – must interact more often. Stakeholders need to build trust and a shared awareness. The goal of these interactions should not be to achieve perfect consensus, but instead a greater ability to collaborate on potential solutions.
  3. There appear to be six groups of problems linked to sea-level rise and coastal erosion in our two regions, each with an associated generalized adaptation pathway for implementing solutions (see Section III):

Problem Domains & Pathways

Finally, it is important to recall that the environmental changes unfolding today – at both low and high latitudes – are dynamic. As such, the insights generated by this Summit will need to evolve to keep pace with changing conditions on the ground. Hence the suffix “1.0” in the name of this document: we expect to update and expand this information as time passes. We invite you to contribute to that conversation by telephone (954-236-1104), email (, or social media.  


 Last Modified 4/3/23