Climate allies : how urban/military interdependence enables adaptation
Author(s)Teicher, Hannah M.
How urban/military interdependence enables adaptation.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Brent D. Ryan.
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As climate impacts escalate, U.S. cities and regions have attempted to fill the federal leadership vacuum in spite of their own resource constraints. In the midst of federal inertia, the Department of Defense (DoD) acknowledges climate risk, mainstreaming it into policy, while defense experts promote a climate security agenda. However, defense adaptation has been modest. Installations and the communities around them remain vulnerable, but these shared risks surface the potential for joint adaptation planning.Through a relational case study of two regions with large defense complexes and the climate security policy community in DC, I ask: how and why do municipal and military leaders undertake joint adaptation? What impact does this have on commonly understood barriers to adaptation? How does climate security discourse shape urban/military collaboration? I find that in Hampton Roads, Virginia and San Diego, California, urban leaders are leveraging the military presence to reinforce their own adaptation efforts and elevate a broader adaptation agenda. This alliance operates through two mutually reinforcing enablers: recognizing interdependence and constructing credibility. As climate impacts compromise infrastructural and social networks, urban and military stakeholders have adopted interdependence as an operating premise, explicitly rejecting military islanding.This challenges expectations in critical adaptation studies of the rise of ecological enclaves while more broadly challenging critiques of urban securitization. Further, it complicates notions of defense-dependency, as the military contingent increasingly recognizes reliance on the community. Amidst the politics of doubt, the military serves as a "credible messenger" on an institutional and individual level; climate security advocates work strategically, deploying this authority to build support for climate action. Both enablers reinforce the centrality of effective framing and multilevel coordination to urban adaptation. Benefits include expanded cooperation, increased technical capacity, and access to resources; pitfalls include favoring adaptation over mitigation and prioritizing conspicuous over mundane climate risks. Urban leaders' qualified success in leveraging the military for adaptation suggests implications for other powerful institutions.Conceptualizing military installations as anchor institutions with an embedded local presence and dedicated mission highlights pathways for communities to form additional adaptation alliances.
This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Thesis: Ph. D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 2019"June 2019." Page 224 blank. Cataloged from student-submitted PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 207-223).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.