Understanding Preferences for Coastal Climate Change Adaptation: A Systematic Literature Review

Angela Mallette, Timothy F. Smith, Carmen Elrick-Barr, Jessica Blythe, Ryan Plummer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Lack of public support for coastal adaptation can present significant barriers for implementation. In response, policy makers and academics are seeking strategies to build public support for coastal adaptation, which requires a deeper understanding of peoples' preferences for coastal adaptation and what motives those preferences. Here, we conduct a systematic literature review to understand preferences for coastal adaptation options and the factors influencing these preferences. Ninety peer-reviewed publications meet the inclusion criteria. The findings revealed that hard protection options were often the most frequently preferred, likely due to a desire to maintain current shoreline, for the protection of recreational spaces and private property, and a perceived effectiveness of hard protection options. Soft protection, including nature-based approaches, accommodation, and no action were the next most preferred options. Finally, retreat options were the least preferred, often due to strong place attachment. We identify twenty-eight factors that could influence preferences, with risk perception, place attachment, and financial considerations occurring most frequently in the literature. In the conclusion, we outline the most significant research gaps identified from our analysis and discuss the implication for adaptation research and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8594
Number of pages22
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


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