Community-Based Vulnerability Assessment (CBVA) Update: Negril, Jamaica

Friday, June 13, 2014

Luna Khirfan showing field surveys to local groupsBuilding on the Community-Based Vulnerability Assessment (CBVA) conducted in January 2013 in Negril, the study site in Jamaica, a research team that compromised of lead researcher Luna Khirfan and six graduate and undergraduate students were situated in Negril for 10 days (May 30 to June 8, 2014). Part of PLAN 474-674 Community Climate Change Adaptation Studio, a course offered through the School of Planning, the fieldwork conducted during this time included two design charrettes that were held with groups that represented the various sub-communities identified within the CBVA, such as local tourism operators, local environmental groups, and local inhabitants of nearby settlements, local fisherman among others. Additionally, the team conducted field surveys using GPS devices and photography to document the conditions of the built and natural environments. The team also administered a survey questionnaire with the local inhabitants and with international tourists.

Samples of the qualitative and visual data collected through the design charrettes with the local sub-communitiesThese various data collection strategies yielded a wealth of spatial, visual, qualitative and quantitative data – all of which were transcribed (both visually and textually), classified and then grouped into manageable chunks. The analysis of these data guided the formation of four objectives for climate change adaptation in Long Bay, the seven-mile long beach that is considered the primary tourist attraction in Negril, namely: to sustain and increase tourism; to provide sustainable livelihoods for the local inhabitants;  to enhance the ecosystem series; and consequently, to increase resiliency. As such, the design proposal underscored four areas of focus, including: systems, built form, public infrastructure and, coastal ecosystems – which were all linked through specific design strategies that were proposed by the research team. In addition to the anticipated peer-reviewed publications, the outcome of this fieldwork also includes a draft for a book that: documents the data collection, management and analysis processes; links the findings to the literature on climate change adaptation; and details the proposed design strategies for Long Bay, Negril. This book will be made available to the planners and policy makers in Jamaica, as well as the various local sub-communities in Negril and other low-lying coastal communities that may benefit from the process.

Seven graduate students sitting on a stone ledge smiling at camera in Jamaica

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