Author ORCID Identifier


Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Urban & Regional Planning


Urban and Regional Planning

First Advisor

Meghan Z. Gough

Second Advisor

Damian Pitt

Third Advisor

James W. Keck


In response to recent storms like Superstorm Sandy and sea-level rise influenced by climate change, cities, particularly those located at the coast, have taken initiative to combat these growing threats with adaptive urban planning. Although civilians residing in susceptible neighborhoods are often the most vulnerable socioeconomically, there has been minimal evidence that planning has accounted for the characteristics of vulnerability. This thesis evaluates the recent planning efforts and vulnerability of Norfolk, VA and New York City to gauge the progress being made toward reducing citizen vulnerability and raising adaptability and preparedness. The most recent peer-reviewed research is consulted to forge the evaluation framework and also to recognize breakthroughs and conformity. After analyzing the performance of the sets of planning documents in both cities, it is evident that the ability to effectively plan for the public’s vulnerability is contingent in part on inter-governmental capacity, but more specifically on disaster experience.


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