The impact of sea-level rise on coastal towns is expected to be a major challenge, with millions of people exposed. The climate-induced risk assessment of coastal areas subject to flooding plays an essential role in planning effective measures for adaptation plans. However, in European legislation, as well as in the regional plans adopted by the member states, there is no clear reference to urban settlement, as this concept is variable and difficult to categorise from the policy perspective. This lack of knowledge makes it complicated to implement efficient adaptation plans. This research examines the presence of the issue in Portugal’s coastal settlements, the European coastal area most vulnerable to rising sea levels, using the case of seashore streets as the most exposed waterfront public urban areas. Using the morphometric classification of the urban fabric, we analyse the relationship between urban typology and legislative macro-areas aimed at providing integrated adaptation plans. The study suggests that there is only a minimal relationship between the proposed classification and the geographical zones currently identified in coastal planning policies. Such incongruence suggests the need for change, as the policy should be able to provide a response plan tailored to the specificities of urban areas.
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