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Listening Sessions

The Virginia Beach Listening Sessions were held in four locations on March 30 and 31, 2011. The participant total was 128 people, and 107 people filled out our community survey. We presented the findings from the listening sessions to the Virginia Beach City Council on May 17, 2011.

Please read more about our project below, or browse the results from the listening sessions and of class findings in the outcomes section of our website.

Final Report and Summary of the Listening Sessions:

Presentation to Virginia Beach City Council:

Informational Presentations from the Listening Sessions:

"Speak Out" Listening Session Video:

Addressing Sea Level Rise in Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach citizens, the built environment, and the natural environment are extremely vulnerable to the combined impacts of relative sea level rise (sea level rise plus land subsidence) and natural coastal hazards.  The environmental stewardship plan, section 7 of the City's 2009 Comprehensive Plan, describes the potential impact of relative sea level rise as follows:

The high rate of relative sea level rise in Hampton Roads is due to regional land subsidence associated with underlying geology and local land subsidence associated with groundwater withdrawal and/or fill settlement.

Current Plans

The City of Virginia Beach Environmental Stewardship Plan makes recommendations to address vulnerability.

The Hampton Roads Planning District Commission is conducting a climate change study, an assessment of the regional transportation vulnerability to climate change, and revising the regional hazard mitigation plan to include relative sea level rise.

Vision Hampton Roads, the regional economic development plan, points to the challenges of sea level rise.

UVa Student Work

As part of the project, two U.Va. School of Architecture classes worked during the spring semester to plan and design solutions to address the issues. A graduate planning applications course, taught by Tim Beatley, Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities, focused on identifying a range of planning tools.  Kristina Hill, associate professor and chair of landscape architecture, led graduate students in developing a range of landscape design solutions.

The results, highlighted in the final class report, used Virginia Beach and the Hampton Roads region as the focus of investigation and analysis.


The Virginia Beach Listening Sessions is a project of the Virginia Sea Grant at Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), with additional funding from the:

The project is a partnership of experts from the: