Informing Rural Sea-Level Rise Adaptation Strategies through Public Participation Evaluation: Application of the Policy Window Theory

By Ariana Marshall and Marcia Allen Owens.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

It has been projected that climate change will disproportionately impact rural coastal communities. Public participation evaluation identifies how these communities participate in coastal-planning decisions and further characterizes this disproportionality. First of all, this study examined the existence of this disproportionality in rural Franklin County, Florida, through a socio-economic impact analysis of sea-level rise. Socio-economic variables were overlaid with 2-6 ft scenario maps created from the NOAA Sea-Level Rise Impact Viewer tool. Secondly, this study explored the application of the policy windows theory through the methodology of combining a socio-economic impact assessment with a qualitative analysis of public participation in coastal planning. Analysis of public participation documents identified issues within the policy, politics and problem stream of a policy window for 1994. This analysis provided suggestions for policy change within Franklin County for relevant application in U.S Census tracts analyzed as most impacted by sea-level rise. This study found that there are some occurrences which are present in and relevant to all policy window streams, however focusing events allowed for deliberation on decision-making which could further exacerbate infrastructural and zoning issues. This study concluded that the initial grounding of the policy window theory can be achieved through the pairing of analyses of the physical impact of a particular issue, in this case sea-level rise, with a contextual understanding of the community through relevant meetings minutes and other documents. This methodology serves to “ground-truth” the presence of adaptation opportunities so that communities are better equipped to move towards more informed resolutions to existing land use planning injustices, as the factor of sea-level rise increases its impact. Specific recommendations were made to inform future sea-level rise adaptation strategies inclusive of citizen-derived proposals found during the research.

Keywords: Public Participation, Sea-Level Rise, Rural, Policy Window, Florida, Environmental Justice

International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.35-47. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 426.471KB).

Ariana Marshall

Graduate Research Assistant, Policy and Risk Management Concentration, FAMU/NOAA ECSC, Tallahassee, Florida, USA

Ariana Marshall is a Ph.D Candidate in the School of Environment at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University(FAMU). Her research interests include climate change adaptation, coastal management and environmental justice.She is currently a graduate research assistant in the NOAA Environmental Cooperative Science Center(ECSC),based at FAMU.

Marcia Allen Owens

Assistant Professor, Policy and Risk Management, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, School of Environment, Tallahassee, Florida, USA


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