Schmidt, L., Delicado, A., Gomes, C., Granjo P., Guerreiro, S., Horta, A., Mourato, J., Prista, P., Saraiva, T., Truninger, M., O'Riordan, T., Santos, F.D., and Penha-Lopes, G. 2013. Change in the way we live and plan the coast: stakeholders discussions on future scenarios and adaptation strategiesA scenario of increased risks due to climate change and coastal erosion, coupled with a stringent economic recession, is threatening the Portuguese coast. Three particular locations are the focus of CHANGE – Changing Coasts, Changing Climate, Changing Communities, a 3-year study (2010–2013) that aims to understand social perceptions about coastal risks and to examine new ways of adaptive management. The project involved assessing peoples' representations about the coastal present and possible coastal futures and discussed coastal change with local populations, in a country in which the protection of vulnerable coast to date has had little public involvement. The three coastal stretches studied face increasing coastal risks and the perspective of reduced public spending, fuelling uncertainty about their future. Public participation in coastal management has been almost entirely absent, which makes the social science based contribution of this research even more relevant. This research combines: a) scientific assessments on the past and future evolution of the shoreline, taking into account the impacts of climate change; b) interviews with policy-makers, coastal experts and stakeholders, as well as local public opinion surveys; c) the outputs of a model for coastal governance and community building, based on local discussions through focus groups and workshops. This paper is based on the surveys and focus groups undertaken in the case-study area most at risk from coastal change, Vagueira. We conclude that there is a growing perception of coastal threat and potential for the development of adaptive coastal management, taking advantage of local knowledge and initiative.