CoPe Megalopolitan Coastal Transformation Hub: Improving the Understanding and Governance of Co-Evolving Hazards, Development, and Coastal Processes

Risks from rising seas, shifting storms, and eroding coastlines, as well as changing ecosystems and development patterns, are escalating in coastal megalopolises around the world. Local, state, and federal climate risk management decisions are interacting with one another and coastal dynamics in complex ways that will shape risk patterns for decades. However, the frameworks informing these decisions are often ill-suited for sustained, complex environmental changes unfolding under deep uncertainty and often reinforce existing inequities.


The CoPe Megapolitan Coastal Transformation Hub (MACH) aims to develop climate-resilient decision-making frameworks to equitably support coastal communities. Fundamental research questions will be addressed through co-production of climate research, with the intended legacy of producing a replicable model for climate risk management. The project is driven by demographically representative stakeholder engagement, which will be sustained through the continuous engagement of researchers with a Collaborative Stakeholder Advisory Panel. MACH partners with organizations that are trusted by and routinely represent, serve, and engage socially vulnerable and historically underrepresented populations in target communities. MACH will broaden participation in the STEM workforce by engaging community college faculty in the development of research priorities and by working with community college faculty and students to incorporate critical service-learning. In addition to facilitating interdisciplinary science through a broad range of academic partners, the Hub advances CoPe goals by linking researchers with coastal community stakeholders and decision-makers to ultimately co-develop dynamic adaptation policy pathways for navigating a deeply uncertain future in an equitable manner.

To overcome challenges in the dynamics of natural-human systems drive coastal climate risk, MACH will bring natural scientists, social scientists, civil engineers, and humanists together with coastal stakeholders and decision-makers in the New York City-New Jersey-Philadelphia region to co-produce knowledge that informs climate-resilient development pathways of coastal communities. MACH’s convergence research agenda will provide fundamental insights into the complex interactions between coastal climate hazards, landforms, and decisions that shape the distribution, dynamics, and uncertainties of increasing climate risks. It will facilitate flexible, equitable, and robust planning to manage coastal climate risks, building upon the iterative process of framing, analyzing, implementing, and monitoring adaptation systems that constitutes the Dynamic Adaptive Policy Pathway (DAPP) co-production framework. It will address three fundamental questions:

  • How can an improved scientific understanding of the integrated natural-human-decision system inform coastal climate risk management and the design of mission-oriented basic research?
  • How do the dynamics of coastal natural-human systems drive hazards and risks?
  • How do dynamic interactions among decisions affecting the coastal system at different scales and time horizons influence exposures, vulnerabilities, and risks?


Funding Agency: This project is funded by the National Science Foundation (Coastlines and People Program)


Javed Ali
Doctoral Researcher

My research involves multi-hazards risk assessment and analyzing compound climate and weather extreme events to better understand their interrelationships at different spatial and temporal scales as well as assessing their corresponding socio-economic impacts using machine learning and statistical methods.

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