The Megalopolitcan Coastal Transformation Hub (MACH)

Coastal Flooding near Tuckerton, NJ. Photo: Matt Drews

Focus Areas


The Decision-Analysis Focus Area addresses key overarching questions such as: (1) "How can an improved scientific understanding of the integrated natural-human-decision system inform coastal climate risk management?” the design of mission-oriented basic research?" and (2) "How do interactions among coastal decisions, at different scales and time horizons, influence exposures, vulnerabilities, and risks?"


The Exposure Focus Area investigates the impacts of climate hazards on a community’s buildings, infrastructures, and residents. Data on building elevations and typology is used for flood exposure analyses

Values and Ethics

The Values and Ethics Focus Area heightens attention to the values that motivate research choices within MACH. For this focus area, “values” are defined very broadly to mean what is important to the MACH team (and others) and what are the underlying reasons for doing things. Co-producing stakeholder-relevant research means focusing on what is important to stakeholders. This focus can conflict with other academic research motivating values, such as advancing science, publishing quickly, publishing in high-impact journals, staying in one’s disciplinary lane, etc. Illuminating these motivating values can help the MACH team navigate trade-offs among them in a deliberate, collaborative, and transparent way.

Human Systems Dynamics

The Municipal Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate Focus Area investigates how evolving coastal risk affects real property, insurance, and mortgage markets. It also asks how coastal risk affects the revenues and expenditures of municipalities, and how these impacts will feed back onto housing markets, community equity, and resident well-being. This focus area relies on secondary data and econometric analysis techniques, fiscal modeling techniques, and agent-based modeling of intergovernmental relations, informed by expert interviews.

The Household Decision Making Focus Area examines how local underserved households make decisions about mitigation/adaptation. The team relies on interviews and surveys to develop a decision model.



The Hazards Focus Area investigates sea level rise, heatwaves, extreme wind, storm surge, and rainfall from tropical and extratropical cyclones. They develop new, advanced methodology to project these hazards, their compounding effects, and geomorphological changes under potential future climate conditions. The projected hazards are combined with exposure and vulnerability to quantify risk and resilience. 

Outreach and Education

The Outreach and Education Focus Area broadens the impact of the MACH project by creating research and educational opportunities in collaboration with two-year colleges in and around project communities, integrating MACH and the decision problems guiding the project’s work into graduate SuperStudio courses, and engaging undergraduates in documentary film making around MACH and its unique use of co-production to address complex decision problems.

Stakeholder Engagement

The Stakeholder Engagement Focus Area facilitates communication and collaboration between stakeholders and the MACH project team. This work supports equitable co-production of research that will inform long-term decision-making in the MACH region. At the same time, the team connects communities with the currently best available science to help make shorter-term decisions and plans related to climate resilience. The team works closely with key points of contact in MACH pilot communities and convenes the Collaborative Stakeholder Advisory Panel (CSAP) and focus groups hosted by community-based organizations.