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The influence of community size and location on different dimensions of vulnerability: a case study of Australian coastal communities


van Putten, I and Villanueva, C and Cvitanovic, C, The influence of community size and location on different dimensions of vulnerability: a case study of Australian coastal communities, Australian Geographer, 48, (1) pp. 121-142. ISSN 0004-9182 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 Geographical Society of New South Wales Inc.

DOI: doi:10.1080/00049182.2016.1168727


Coastal communities are part of the Australian identity but little is known about their characteristics and their long-term prosperity prospects. Increased migration to coastal areas and increased exposure to extreme climatic events indicates a need for social and economic data to inform socio-ecological systems planning. Here, we undertake a geo-spatial analysis to develop a typology of Australian coastal communities and assess relative vulnerability to climate-driven environmental change for a range of social and economic indicators. The aim of this study is to understand how the vulnerability of Australian coastal communities varies with geographic location or community size, and in comparison to other community types. Results show that both the population size and location of a coastal community matter and that coastal communities overall are more vulnerable on some socio-economic dimensions to climate-driven environmental change than their rural equivalents. However, results also demonstrate that the smallest coastal communities are strong in some important aspects of the human, social and financial domains, putting them in a good position to deal with some changes. Scale-appropriate and context-specific social policies are needed to address identified socio-economic vulnerabilities, supported by a range of formal and informal institutional structures, such as strategies to improve education and female workforce participation, and encourage participation in volunteering to increase human and social capital.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Coastal communities, vulnerability, sustainable livelihood, community typology, human capital, social capital
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Human geography
Research Field:Human geography not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Coastal and estuarine systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems
UTAS Author:van Putten, I (Dr Ingrid Van Putten)
UTAS Author:Villanueva, C (Dr Cecilia Villanueva)
UTAS Author:Cvitanovic, C (Dr Christopher Cvitanovic)
ID Code:109097
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2016-05-24
Last Modified:2018-04-18

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