This project develops and evaluates new public communication tools for coastal resilience known as "geo-narratives." These new tools are useful to both long-term adaptive planning and urban design and short-term hazard responses, including evacuation, emergency management, and post-disaster relief and diagnostics. To develop these geo-narratives, the investigators leverage scientific advances in localized modeling of hazardous geo-environmental processes, and local community history and understanding of hazards. Co-produced with partner communities, the geo-narratives are interactive, science-and-data-rich, and include multimedia storytelling, story-mapping, and 3D visualizations. They convey both local knowledge and values, as well as scientific information and adaptive opportunities associated with coastal megathrust earthquakes. The investigators plan to evaluate the extent to which geo-narratives help communities use relevant science in planning and policy decisions, thus contributing new knowledge in both the development of planning materials and in the evaluation of their impact. The project builds capacity to integrate knowledge across the sciences, informs planning practices that seek to communicate and address geohazard risks, and thereby benefiting partner communities directly and contributing to coastal resilience.

With a common focus on subduction zone hazards and risk, and complementary expertise in sea-level change, the research team translates scientific consensus and uncertainties into locally actionable information to be tested in geo-narratives for use in actual community planning and emergency preparedness workshops. Geo-narratives convey the evolving scientific understanding of subduction megathrust earthquakes and co-seismic, cascading hazards (e.g., subsidence and uplift, liquefaction, tsunami inundation, landslide generation, building collapse) overlaid on localized sea-level change projections. Partner-community participant interviews and surveys of the regional population examine the effects of the geo-narratives on trust in the information, and ability to relate temporal and other aspects of the science to locally meaningful decisions and policies. Recent discoveries in Pacific Northwest earthquake history make Washington State an ideal place to examine these issues while results will be applicable in other settings with multiple hazards. The Washington coast sits on the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which experiences tectonic uplift on the Pacific shore and is prone to megaquakes every few centuries and the region also includes the complex inland waterways of the Salish Sea, with dramatic sea-level change year-on-year, exacerbated by tectonic subsidence on the continental side of the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The project engages with several communities in these different coastal conditions to compare the effects of geo-narratives across contrasting hazard conditions with different timeframes.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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University of Washington
United States
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