Simón Guzmán y Cristian Larraguibel
urban planning; climate change; coastal cities; coastal flooding
This study reviews the degree to which land-use planning addresses climate change adaptation in Chilean Low Elevated Coastal Zones (LECZ). We first select 12 of the country’s most exposed coastal municipalities using a Municipal Exposure Index (MEI). Then, we conduct a content analysis of the communal regulatory plans (CRPs) using a “presumed exposure analysis”, which assumes that the inventory of assets within LECZ, according to the 2017 census, is a proxy of the exposure. Then, we conduct a more refined “hazard exposure analysis” by comparing changes in flooding levels between a historical period (1985–2004) and the RCP8.5 scenario (2026–2045). Using the latter approach, we show that flooding could affect large portions of the municipalities’ housing areas (3.7%), critical facilities (14.6%), and wetlands (22.7%) in the period 2026–2045. In the presumed exposure analysis, these percentages rise to 7.5%, 23.9%, and 24.9%, respectively. We find that CRPs also allow for a densification of exposed residential areas, whose density would increase by 9.2 times, on average, between the historical period and the RCP8.5 scenario. Additionally, only four municipalities define floodable zones as “risk areas”. Lastly, the difficulty in updating CRPs and their antiquity −21.25 years old on average could explain their ineffectiveness in implementing climate change adaptation strategies.