Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Natural Resources

First Advisor

Kristine Stepenuck

Second Advisor

Asim Zia


Global climate change poses increased threats to coastal communities. The resilience of coastal communities relies on the protection and continued availability of essential services such as food, energy, and water (FEW) systems. However, the intersection of FEW nexus research and coastal resilience planning has not been well explored. This dissertation seeks to further the goal of operationalizing resilience planning by examining the usefulness of resilience tools and toolkits that have been developed in recent years and exploring how the FEW nexus approach has been applied to coastal resilience planning in both academic and grey literature. The first chapter provides the history of resilience and the FEW nexus as well as the policy and planning challenges associated with combining the two bodies of research. The second chapter explores the utility of tools for on-the-ground resilience planning and implementation needs through interviews with members of state Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Programs and federal and nonprofit partners. Results suggested that local community needs are better addressed when end-users play a role in the tool development process and that CZM Program networks should be leveraged to identify solutions and disseminate information. The third chapter examines how the FEW nexus has been incorporated with coastal resilience planning in peer-reviewed scholarly articles through a systematic literature review. Results reveal three main findings: 1. The FEW nexus approach provides a method to consider systems interdependencies in the context of coastal resilience planning, 2. Coastal resilience planning should consider an energy-centric perspective of the FEW nexus, and 3. The FEW nexus should be expanded to include other systems, namely transportation. Building upon research of academic studies in chapter three, the fourth chapter investigated how the FEW nexus was incorporated into grey resilience literature. Resilience plans from eleven coastal US cities are assessed to understand: 1. How risks to food, energy, water, and transportation (FEWT) systems were addressed within the community resilience plans, and 2. To what extent a nexus approach had been used in resilience plan development. Results reveal that the transportation and energy were the most commonly considered while the food system was least represented within the resilience plans. A FEWT nexus perspective did not appear to be employed during creation of each cities’ resilience plan. Chapter five concludes that the findings across these chapters support the idea that employing a food, energy, water, and transportation approach can enhance coastal resilience planning efforts, and is a valuable area ripe for future research.



Number of Pages

163 p.