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2020-2022 Sustainable Coastal Development and Economy Research Projects

Climate risks, infrastructure systems, and income disparity: Impacts of sea-level rise on social inequality in South Carolina’s coastal communities

Mostafa Batouli, The Citadel, and Ismail Farajpour, S.C. State University.

For generations, low-lying land was the least desirable, and thus communities of the economically vulnerable tended to form in those areas. As sea levels rise, adaptation creates unique challenges in those communities. Researchers aim to investigate the interaction of sea-level rise stressors, physical conditions of civil infrastructure, and the vulnerability of socioeconomically disadvantaged populations in South Carolina. The goal is to identify adaptations that can improve resilience for low-income families.

Researchers will combine interactive sea-level rise projections with mapping of socioeconomically vulnerable populations, and then suggest how design, operation, and management of physical infrastructure networks can impact resilience, with a  focus on low-income communities. The information will be shared with public agencies that make infrastructure decisions, including S.C. Department of Transportation, S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, and S.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority.