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Seiskari, Essi, 2023. Shifting shorelines : reflection on visulization of sea level rise. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development



Sea level rise is predicted to radically transform coastal landscapes in the coming centuries. Caused by climate change, the impact is already felt in low-lying communities around the world. Although the consequences of rising sea levels will be severe and irreversible, the slow pace of change and high level of uncertainty regarding its future trajectory make the issue challenging to plan for. However, adaptation to changing coastlines is necessary, especially in densely built urban areas. Climate adaptation initiatives are unlikely to be successful without public support. Yet research shows that people are likely to dismiss or underestimate the personal impact of climate change due to perceived psychological and temporal distance. Research on new approaches to climate communication have found that visualizing the impact of climate change, including sea level rise, has yielded promising results in both raising awareness as well as increasing engagement in local climate adaptation.

The aim of this study is to look at how sea level rise and possible adaptation measures can be visually communicated to facilitate dialogue between planning experts and lay audiences. This report describes the process and considerations involved in the production of sea level rise visualizations of a chosen site in Kalmar, Sweden. The produced imagery was presented to the public during an exhibition where participants were invited to engage in a discussion on sea level rise and give their feedback on the visualizations. These responses were analyzed and discussed to assess the effectiveness of the produced visuals in facilitating dialogue.

The result of this study shows how illustrating climate change impact on local level, tailored to the community, is a powerful tool for facilitating communication.The project also revealed the challenges in illustrating climate futures from accommodating uncertainty to visualizing potential solutions.This study supports previous findings on the power of imagery in reshaping collective imaginations and evoking emotions. Thus visualization justifiably has an important role in visioning possible futures for transforming coastal communities.

Main title:Shifting shorelines
Subtitle:reflection on visulization of sea level rise
Authors:Seiskari, Essi
Supervisor:Wingren, Carola
Examiner:Sandqvist, Sofia and Engström, Amalia
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2023
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:LM009 Landscape Architecture for Sustainable Urbanisation - Master's Programme, 120.0 hp
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Keywords:sea level rise, climate adaptation, managed retreat, visualization
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Landscape architecture
Deposited On:13 Dec 2023 09:43
Metadata Last Modified:14 Dec 2023 02:01

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