2019 CSCE Annual Conference - Laval (Greater Montreal)

2019 CSCE Annual Conference - Laval (Greater Montreal) Conference

Climate Change and Its Impact on Coastal Cities: A Case Study from Alexandria

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Ms. Hend Ismail, The American University in Cairo (Presenter)
Dr. Mohamed N. Abou-Zeid, The American University in Cairo

Throughout history, coastal cities have been influential and attracted large population due to their rich resources, eco-social and cultural transfer. Today, such privilege is questionable as coastal cities are facing high risk to be significantly damaged if not swiped away due to Sea Level Rise and floods resulting from climate change. As such, millions of urban inhabitants in low and middle-income nations are at risk from direct and indirect impacts of climate change. Moreover, climate change when left undealt may contribute in forcing migration, conflicts, hunger and destroy infrastructure. Sad but true, Egypt is ranked 3rd on the list of countries most affected by climate change. The effects include temperature rise, change in rain patterns, rise of sea level, and increase in catastrophic weather events with all socio-economic consequences. Alexandria, is listed among the 15 of the world’s 20 coastal megacities that are at risk from SLR and coastal surges. However, such threats can be minimized through; ‘mitigation’ where causes can be controlled and ‘adaptation’ where cities can be protected. 

The objectives of this study are to uncover and assess negative impacts of climate change on coastal cities and its built environment globally, and particularly in Alexandria. Also, the vulnerability of its residents and their level of awareness; identifying the gaps in Egypt National Climate Change Strategy that triggers the city’s sustainability. Additionally, explore design parameters that promote sustainable design for buildings in areas at high risk; assess the perception and knowledge of architects, engineers and policy makers on issues related to climate change and buildings. In order to fulfill these objectives, an intensive literature study and hybrid methodology were undertaken. Two questionnaires were developed for Alexandria’s residents, and architects and engineers; one to one interviews with experts, governmental and NGOs representatives.

The findings of this study reveal and confirm the high vulnerability of the residents due to the inefficient practices, weak and poor communication between the government and the residents. Also, it pinpoints poor and limited knowledge for sustainable practices and designs that need to be adapted to climatic threats. Gaps in Egypt National Climate Change Strategy were identified. Looking forward, a recommended design guideline based on mitigation and adaptation practices have to be established in lights of the findings of this work.  Such recommendations need to be transformed in the soon future into an action plan nationwide.

Keywords: Climate Change, Coastal City, Alexandria, Sea Level Rise, Mitigation, Adaptation