Coastal Hazards, Equity, Economic Prosperity And Resilience (CHEER)


Community resilience has become a guiding ideal for how to address escalating impacts of hazards in coastal regions. Nevertheless, it remains stubbornly challenging to achieve in practice. This NSF Coasts and People (CoPe) Hub, ;led by the University of Delaware, hypothesizes that this is partially due to constraints imposed by parallel concerns of equity and economic prosperity and the difficulty decision-makers face in balancing these goals. To address this challenge, the proposed Hub will focus on understanding the tensions among these issues, three of the most important societal challenges of our day. The Hub will: (1) Identify, explain, and quantify interactions and tradeoffs among the coastal community goals of equity, economic prosperity, and resilience to hurricane-related hazards; and (2) Develop methods to design and evaluate policy interventions that can help communities achieve these goals. 

Specifically, The CHEER Hub will operationalize these three broad concepts in a mathematical modeling framework that will serve as a decision support tool to inform design and analysis of disaster policy. The computational framework consists of seven interacting modules for (1) households, (2) insurers, and (3) three levels of government; and the natural, built, and economic environments in which those decisions are made—(4) hazards, (5) damage/loss, (6) buildings, and (7) economy. The results of this modeling framework will include: (1) recommended federal government policies and the decisions state and local governments, insurers, and households are likely to make in response; (2) outcomes for each stakeholder type to see how each is likely to be affected, including uncertainty, changes over time, and heterogeneity within the stakeholder types; and (3) based on those stakeholder-specific outcomes, assessments of overall community equity, economic prosperity, and resilience over time. In Years 1-4, Hub research will focus on three case study areas—Eastern North Carolina; Port Arthur, TX; and Houston, TX; in Year 5, the application will be extended to the full Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Designed using a convergent approach to address the intersections among social, human-built, and natural systems in coastal states, the proposed Hub is ideal for the Coastlines and People program. 

As the UNC-Chapel Hill participant in this large multi-institutional NSF Hub, the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) will contribute to two main project thrusts: 1) characterization of coastal hazards and risks, and 2) management of knowledge used and generated by the Hub.  Computer modeling of coastal hazards and risk levels will provide core data inputs to the Hub’s physical structure losses and economic estimation models, leveraging RENCI’s long-standing expertise in applications of the ADCIRC storm surge model and in statistical modeling of hurricane impacts. The Hub will generate substantial amounts of data, information, and new knowledge that need to be shared across the Hub thrust areas, as well as to external groups and teams. RENCI’s expertise in data and knowledge management will be essential to the success of the CHEER Hub awardees working as an interdisciplinary team, in efforts to develop the broader impacts envisaged by the Hub, and in assessing project progress towards its goals.

RENCI’s Role

  • Brian Blanton- Coastal hazard modeling and coordination, data dissemination and management
  • Chris Lenhardt- Knowledge capture and management


  • University of Delaware (lead)
  • Boston University
  • Cornell University
  • ECU
  • NCSU
  • University of Oklahoma
  • Stony Brook
  • Texas A&M
  • UCLA
  • University of Florida


  • National Science Foundation