Jersey shore
Recently planted rows of American Beachgrass looking north towards Seaside Park, NJ. Matt Drews
The Megalopolitan Coastal Transformation Hub (MACH) is developing a climate-resilient decision-making framework that will support coastal communities in the New York City-New Jersey-Philadelphia region and beyond as they navigate a deeply uncertain future. MACH’s work will center extensive stakeholder engagement and uphold its core values of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Understanding Coastal Climate Risk and Community Needs

Through MACH, a broad range of academic partners, coastal stakeholders, and decision-makers are engaging in collaborative research to better understand community needs and the complex human and environmental interactions that shape climate risk. The team will also work to understand and address disproportionate impacts of coastal climate hazards.

This work will be guided by:

  • A Collaborative Stakeholder Advisory Panel (CSAP) that advises the MACH team on its research priorities and work plan, and
  • An External Advisory Board (EAB) of experienced research leaders that meets annually to monitor MACH’s progress.
Guiding Research Questions
How can an improved scientific understanding of the integrated natural-human-decision system motivate new science and improve coastal climate risk management?
How do the dynamics of coastal natural-human systems drive climate hazards and risks?
How do dynamic interactions between decisions, across scales and time horizons, affect exposures, vulnerabilities, and risks at the coast?
How do the emergent properties of the integrated natural-human system shape coastal climate risk?

Engaging Academic and Community Stakeholders

MACH will engage community stakeholders across the region, especially from communities and populations that are underrepresented in or historically excluded from planning efforts. In the first year, the MACH team will:

  • Host focus groups with residents,
  • Conduct interviews with key informants including community leaders, non-governmental organizations, planners and policy-makers, subject matter experts; and
  • Conduct online surveys with a diverse audience of practitioners with an interest in coastal climate risks and vulnerabilities.

Hoboken waterfront, by John Gattuso

Hoboken, NJ waterfront. John Gattuso

The scholars on the MACH team include experts in:
  • climate and sea-level science
  • climate communication
  • civil engineering
  • urban planning
  • anthropology
  • decision analysis
  • economics
  • emergency management
  • ethics
  • public policy

Developing a Climate-Resilient Decision-Making Framework

Collaborators will later use insights from MACH research to develop dynamic adaptation policy pathways (DAPPs) for coastal communities. These flexible planning frameworks allow decision-makers to identify warning signals and change policies quickly to meet their community’s needs as social and environmental conditions change.

The MACH academic-stakeholder partnership and research will provide a model for just, equitable, and inclusive climate action in diverse coastal, urban megaregions around the world.

Researcher Flow Chart -- Researcher Flow Chart. For a barrier free explanation of this chart, please email
MACH Researcher and Stakeholder Process Flowchart