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Optimizing preservation for multiple types of historic structures under climate change

July 12, 2021

Cultural resources in coastal parks and recreation areas are vulnerable to climate change. The US National Park Service (NPS) is facing the challenge of insufficient budget allocations for both maintenance and climate adaptation of historic structures. Research on adaptation planning for cultural resources has predominately focused on vulnerability assessments of heritage sites; however, few studies integrate multiple factors (e.g., vulnerability, cultural significance, use potential, and costs) that managers should consider when making tradeoff decisions about which cultural resources to prioritize for adaptation. Moreover, heritage sites typically include multiple types of cultural resources, and researchers have yet to examine such complex tradeoffs. This study applies the Optimal Preservation (OptiPres) Model as a decision support framework to evaluate the tradeoffs of adaptation actions among multiple types of historic structures—wooden buildings, masonry and concrete buildings, forts, and batteries—under varying budget scenarios. Results suggest that the resource values of different types of historic structures vary greatly under a range of budget scenarios, and tradeoffs have to be made among different types of historical structures to achieve optimal planning objectives. Moreover, periodic, incremental funding and partial maintenance are identified as optimal funding strategies for preservation needs of cost-intensive historic structures. Also, adaptative use of historical buildings (e.g., building occupancy) can improve the resource values when budgets are constrained. The OptiPres Model provides managers with a unique framework to inform adaptation planning efforts for a broad range of historic structures, which is transferable across coastal parks to enhance historic preservation planning under climate change.

Publication Year 2021
Title Optimizing preservation for multiple types of historic structures under climate change
DOI 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2021.104165
Authors Xiao Xiao, Erin Seekamp, Junyu Lu, Mitchell Eaton, Max Post van der Burg
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Landscape and Urban Planning
Index ID 70221838
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center