Adaptation Strategies for the Built Environment

There are several types of sea level rise adaptation strategies that are used in the planning process to assist coastal communities. Strategies for the built environment can be categorized into three groups based on their objectives:

1. Accommodation – Accommodation strategies adapt to rising water levels through design measures such as elevation or stormwater improvements. They do not prevent flooding or inundation and are suitable for location-dependent structures. Elevating residential homes is an accommodation option used along the coast in the Levy County.

raisedhomecedarkeyElevating residential homes along the coast in Cedar Key is an accommodation strategy.

2. Protection – Protection strategies mitigate the impacts of rising seas through defensive mechanisms. Armoring is a “hard” structural strategy that is used often in historically significant areas. Seawalls and riprap are used in certain parts of Levy County to protect development. Beach renourishment is a “soft” protection strategy that is used by coastal communities to decrease vulnerability.


Riprap is used to armor certain portions of Cedar Key’s shoreline against erosion from storm events. 

3. Planned Relocation – Planned relocation strategies involve the actual movement of development and infrastructure away from high risk areas. Prompting a relocation includes acquisition of vulnerable areas to prevent future development. Acquisition can occur through transfer of development rights, rollings easements, or conservation easements.


Prior to 1896, Cedar Key’s community was located on Atsena Otie Key. The community retreated and rebuilt in Cedar Key after a hurricane wiped out the entire town. All that remains on its original site is a graveyard.

Honeymoon shack

A view of all three strategies over time.  Accommodation was the structure’s beginning and retreat was a decision at some point.  Protection can be seen in the foreground.


Strategies are often combined along the coast.  Here accommodation is used for the buildings along the waterfront while a protective seawall buffers the roadway.

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