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    Incremental adaptation when transformation fails: The importance of place-based values and trust in governance in avoiding maladaptation

    Clarke, Darren and Murphy, Conor (2023) Incremental adaptation when transformation fails: The importance of place-based values and trust in governance in avoiding maladaptation. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 88. p. 102037. ISSN 0272-4944

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    Climate change threatens human wellbeing and adaptation is essential. To-date, little research has examined connections between incremental and transformative adaptation. We address this gap using two multi-functional flood defence projects in Clontarf, a community in Dublin, Ireland, one of which represents transformative and the other incremental adaptation. Using a repeated study, we ask (i) does the importance of place-related values differ depending on whether adaptation is incremental or transformative, and (ii) what role does trust in governance play in incremental adaptation when transformation fails? Surveys were administered in Clontarf in 2014 (n = 280) after community resistance to transformative flood defences. A follow-up study using an identical survey was undertaken to evaluate separate incremental flood defences in 2016 (n = 242). Results highlight several important findings. First, both adaptation interventions show repeated potential threats to place from perceived weak governance rather than from disruptive place change caused by climate change. Second, where place attachment is strong, communities may repeatedly resist potential threats to place by challenging poor governance. However, this inadvertently threatens place disruption from climate change e.g., extreme climatic events. This could cause maladaptation, tying future decisions to past actions and failing to consider alternative transformative adaptation pathways. Finally, community discussions on transformative pathways and avoiding maladaptation risks are crucial for successful adaptation. This includes recognising trade-offs between place disruption threats from proposed adaptation strategies and climate change. Governance processes may subsequently need to transform and incorporate learnings or risk repeated resistance to adaptation previously considered rational. Many of these issues are likely to be encountered in all regions globally and across multiple adaptation sectors. Findings therefore provide important evidence to improve adaptation outcomes more generally.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Transformation; Adaptation; Place disruption; Place attachment; Flood risk; Governance; Nature;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Institutes > Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units, ICARUS
    Item ID: 17428
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Conor Murphy
    Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2023 15:20
    Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Environmental Psychology
    Publisher: Elsevier
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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