Frames and games : testing a public health orientation to climate adaptation planning
Author(s)Kim, Ella Jisun
Testing a public health orientation to climate adaptation planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
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Current urban climate adaptation planning efforts tend to focus on protecting a city's physical assets from potential climate-related disasters, with an increasing emphasis on enhancing resilience, or building places that can absorb and withstand climatic shocks. Scholars and practitioners have critiqued climate adaptation planning's current focus on protecting physical assets, pointing out that adaptation plans rarely incorporate equity or social vulnerability. Consequently, calls have emerged for climate adaptation planning to focus on human vulnerabilities instead. To that end, my dissertation probes why and how the health impacts of climate change should be given a more prominent role in climate adaptation planning efforts. In reality, to structure the conversation around climate change to be about public health, cities will need new approaches to enhance public awareness of and facilitate engagement with climate risk management choices. Responding to calls for research on ways for cities to operationalize a focus on the health impacts of climate change, my dissertation project tested three methods of engaging citizens in public health-oriented climate adaptation planning. I find that cities have much to gain from framing climate change as a public health issue, as it boosts public concern about the severity of the problem and builds public support for policy action. I also find that serious games enhance awareness of local climate-related health risks and collective decision-making capacities, and argue that cities should utilize face-to-face and digital game-based engagement in climate adaptation planning efforts. My dissertation concludes with recommendations for cities on how to use a variety of public engagement methods to create pathways for envisioning local preferences in climate adaptation planning. This dissertation engages with and contributes to three areas of theory and practice. First, the dissertation examines the proposed normative and pragmatic benefits of cities adopting a public health orientation to climate adaptation planning. Second, the dissertation presents new tools for cities to enhance public awareness of and facilitate engagement with climate risk management choices. Finally, the dissertation project considers planners' roles in science-intensive planning and policymaking processes, in particular, through addressing the unique challenges to enhancing public engagement around climate change. Furthermore, it examines how planners can foster collective decision-making capacities among different publics, and ultimately, enable technically sound and politically feasible responses by individuals and communities to adapt to climate change.
Thesis: Ph. D. in Environmental Planning and Public Policy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 2018.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.