Coastal Planning Strategies for Adaptation to Sea Level Rise: A Case Study of Mokpo, Korea


Climate change and sea level rise necessitate adaptation strategies for coastal areas. This paper showcases five strategies for sea level rise adaptation: hard protection, soft protection, accommodation, retreat, and attack. This study proposes adaptation measures and a phased development strategy for coastal areas of Mokpo, an old port city on the southwestern tip of the Korean Peninsula that has been expanded by land reclamation. Mokpo presently experiences frequent flooding during high-water and storm events; due to their low elevation and land subsidence, most of the reclaimed areas are susceptible to future inundation via sea level rise. The fundamental adaptation strategies for the impact areas are: hard protection of important infrastructures via multi-tiered terraces; the retreat of coastal developments accompanied by green buffer zones such as wetlands and parks to accommodate temporary inundation; and up-leveling the ground for new development and phased relocation of existing development. Through the case study of Mokpo, the paper emphasizes the importance of resilient planning strategies for urban development, and highlights both the challenges and opportunities for sea level rise adaptation.

Share and Cite:

Lee, Y. (2014) Coastal Planning Strategies for Adaptation to Sea Level Rise: A Case Study of Mokpo, Korea. Journal of Building Construction and Planning Research, 2, 74-81. doi: 10.4236/jbcpr.2014.21007.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Small, C. and Nicholls, R.J. (2003) A Global Analysis of Human Settlement in Coastal Zones. Journal of Coastal Research, 19, 584-599.
[2] Fuchs, R.J. (2010) Cities at Risk: Asia’s Coastal Cities in an Age of Climate Change. Asia Pacific Issues, 96, 1-12.
[3] Dasgupta, S. (2007) The Impact of Sea Level Rises on Developing Countries: A Comparative Analysis. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, 4136, 1-51.
[4] Nicholls, R.J. (1999) Increasing Flood Risk and Wetland Losses Due to Global Sea-Level Rise: Regional and Global Analyses. Global Environmental Change, 9, 69-87.
[5] Nicholls, R.J. (2004) Coastal Flooding and Wetland Loss in the 21st Century: Changes under the SRES Climate and Socio-Economic Scenarios. Global Environmental Change, 14, 69-86.
[6] Hallegatte, S., et al. (2011) Assessing Climate Change Impacts, Sea Level Rise and Storm Surge Risk in Port Cities: A Case Study on Copenhagen. Climatic Change, 104, 113-137.
[7] Cooper, J.A. and Lemckert, C. (2012) Extreme Sea-Level Rise and Adaptation Options for Coastal Resort Cities: A Qualitative Assessment from the Gold Coast, Australia. Ocean & Coastal Management, 64, 1-14.
[8] Cho, K., et al. (2012) National Assessment on Sea Level Rise Impact of Korean Coast in the Socio-economic Context II. Report 2012-19. Korea Environment Institute, Seoul.
[9] Hallegatte, S. (2009) Strategies to Adapt to an Uncertain Climate Change. Global Environmental Change, 19, 240-247.
[10] Storch, H. and Downes, N.K. (2011) A Scenario-Based Approach to Assess Ho Chi Minh City’s Urban Development Strategies Against the Impact of Climate Change. Cities, 28, 517-526.
[11] Dawson, R.J., Hall, J.W., Bates, P.D. and Nicholls, R.J. (2005) Quantified Analysis of the Probability of Flooding in the Thames Estuary under Imaginable Worst-Case Sea Level Rise Scenarios. International Journal of Water Resources Development, 21, 577-591.
[12] Rahmstorf, S. (2007) A Semi-Empirical Approach to Projecting Future Sea-Level Rise, Science, 315, 368-370.
[13] The Rising Tides International Competition for Ideas Responding to Sea Level Rise in San Francisco Bay and Beyond.
[14] Building Futures and ICE (2010) Facing Up to Rising Sea-Levels: Retreat? Defend? Attack? Report. London.
[15] Stark, A. (Ed.) (2013) Hafen City Hamburg: Essentials Quarters Projects. Hafen City Hamburg GmbH. Hamburg.
[16] IPCC CZMS (1990) Strategies for Adaptation to Sea Level Rise. Report. IPCC CZMS, Hague.
[17] Nicholls, R.J. (2011) Planning for the Impacts of Sea Level Rise. Oceanography, 24, 144-157.
[18] Kim, J. (2009) A Study on the Formation and Characteristics of Urban Structure of Mokpo. Ph.D. Thesis, Chonnam National University, Gwangju.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.