Land Use - Government of Nova Scotia

Development Trends and
Vulnerability To Storms
Case Study Analysis of a Community in Nova Scotia
Honours Thesis Proposal
Jacqueline Wightman
Environmental Planning
Dalhousie University
February 7th, 2013
Photo Source: Environment Canada. 2009.
 Background
 Storms in Nova Scotia
 Coastal Development Trends
 What is vulnerability?
 Research Problem
 Goals and Objectives
 Method
 Expected Findings
 Implications of Study
Storms in Nova Scotia
10 Years of Hurricane Tracks: 1992 - 2001
Storms in Nova Scotia
Land-falling Hurricanes
100 Years of Tracks in Nova Scotia
Photo Source: Environment Canada, 2012.
Storms in Nova Scotia
 Land-falling hurricanes are not the only problem
 Extratropical storm remnants can also do damage
Remnants of Hurricane Noel
Photo Source: CBC News Online, 2012.
Damaged property and
Caused power outages
to homes and businesses
in Nova Scotia
Storms in Nova Scotia
 Winter storms can do a lot of damage
Groundhog Day Storm, 1976
Photo Source: Fundy Group Publications LTD, Groundhog ‘76
Blow to Yarmouth fishing
Thousands of dollars of
damage to this wharf
Storms in Nova Scotia
 Climate change will increase storm risk:
 Storm surges will reach further inland due to sea level rise
 Possibility of more frequent, intense storms
Coastal Development Trends
 Number of people on the coast is increasing
 More people exposed
 Use of coast in the 19th and early 20th century:
 infrastructure (wharves, docks, railways, etc.)
 Today:
 residential, recreational, commercial and
institutional uses
What is vulnerability?
RISK is the product of
 Hazard – How big is the storm?
 Exposure – Will the storm hit us?
 Vulnerability – Can we withstand it?
All of these factors determine the RISK of damages
What is vulnerability?
 The amount of destruction is determined by:
 Magnitude of the storm
 Our location in relation to the storm
 Infrastructure and development patterns
Research Problem
 How has vulnerability to storms in a community in Nova
Scotia evolved over time due to changes in
development patterns?
 What do these trends imply for future storm risk?
 Goal 1: Conduct a historical case study analysis of the
effect of land use change on vulnerability
 Goal 2: Determine how the community can minimize its
vulnerability to future storms
 Map development changes over time including type,
density, use and form.
 Interpret land use change from a vulnerability perspective:
 Determine and identify vulnerable land uses at each
point in time.
 Identify the damages associated with every storm.
 Compare past to present vulnerability, and make
recommendations based on past trends.
 Chose a community that is vulnerable to
storms and has undergone significant land
use change.
 Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
 Strongly affected by storms
 Data available
Method: Land Use
Change Over Time
 Spatial analysis of land use
change using GIS:
 Geo-reference and map
 historic fire insurance
 Aerial photos
 Current Zoning maps
Section of 1891 Yarmouth Fire Insurance Map
Courtesy of Yarmouth Planning Department
Method: Land Use
Change Over Time
 Categorize buildings based
on attributes that affect
 Use
 Building materials
 Permanency
 Investment
 Interpret change in
vulnerability over time due to
changes in land use
Section of 1938 Yarmouth Fire Insurance Map
Courtesy of Yarmouth Planning Department
Method: Storm
Damage Analysis
 Create a list of major storms
that hit community:
 Environment Canada
 News articles
 Compare storm damages to
land use at the time, make
correlations if possible
Storm Date
- $$
- injuries
Land Use
Method: Vulnerability to Future
 Analyze current vulnerability to storms
 Based on historic trends and
 current land use maps
Identify areas of concern
Expected Findings
Historic trends
 Vulnerability increases as the coast becomes more
 More storm damages in areas where development has
changed from infrastructure/industrial to
Future storm risk
 Development occurring in a way that increases vulnerability
Change in hazard?
 Fires more of an issue in the 19th century
 Flooding a bigger issue today than in the past
Implications of study
Understanding the past is key to planning for the future.
 The influence of a community’s development on its vulnerability
to storms
 Trends show an increase in vulnerability, how can we change
 Climate change
 increase in storm extent = more damage potential

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