Home Institution

Gettysburg College

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Program Name

Samoa: Social and Environmental Change in Oceania


Small island developing states are arguably the most vulnerable, exposed nations on a global scale to the harmful effects of climate change. Particularly in Samoa, an abundance of environmental, economic, and social impacts have severe impacts on both the country as a whole as well as on an individual level. This study analyzes future mitigation strategies of land use and urban design to recreate Samoa’s capital of Apia as a more climate-resilient city to encourage economic growth and to ensure the well-being of all inhabitants. This planning is based upon current challenges of Samoa driven by climate change such as flooding, cyclone damage, and increased heat alongside adaptive capacity of the Pacific island to protect itself from the negative outcomes of climate change. Utilizing sustainable urban design, government mitigation strategies, disaster management, and education awareness Apia has great potential to improve its resilience to climate change. Qualitative data collected from personal interviews, Samoan government resources, international databases, and non-governmental organizations explained the impacts of climate change on Samoa while distributed surveys demonstrate the general public opinion of the urgency of response to climate change. Data analysis proved that there is a large disparity of climate change awareness between those formerly educated who are working in the formal economy such as government officers in comparison to unemployed individuals such as National University of Samoa (N.U.S) students. Altogether, this research presents a strong foundation for positive urban design and sustainable development adaptation to ensure a robust state of being for Apia as well as Samoa as an entity.


Climate | Environmental Design | Environmental Education | Environmental Policy | Environmental Studies | Pacific Islands Languages and Societies | Sustainability | Urban, Community and Regional Planning


Article Location