Joanna Wozniak-Brown, 2022. “Understanding the coast as a peopled place: A literature survey of place attachment in climate change adaptation”, Shore & Beach, 90(4), 28-42.
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Understanding the coast as a peopled place: A literature survey of place attachment in climate change adaptation
Joanna Wozniak-Brown, Ph.D., AICP
University of Connecticut, Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation
As the field of adaptation science grows, there are new and emerging paradigms to approach climate change planning. This paper includes a literature survey of articles and manuscripts that evaluate coastal climate change adaptation in the place attachment paradigm. The survey included a database review for an 11-year period with associated search terms and, after initial sifting of the results for duplications or nonrelated works, I reviewed the relationship between place attachment and adaptation, empirical methods for studying place attachment, major framing of their relationship, and how these concepts relate to equitable and “just adaptation.” Most studies used multiple and mixed methods with frequent use of semi-structured interviews and a psychometric scale. Primary frames for place attachment in adaptation were social capital, cultural heritage, managed retreat and migration, and ecosystem services. Place attachment can be a motivator for environmental action but a barrier to change, especially managed retreat. It can reveal critical elements and socio-cultural practices dependent on the landscape that are priorities to the residents and visitors. Finally, place attachment provides an opportunity, for more equitable and just adaptation, if done intentionally. After discussion of the results, I present research, policy, and practice considerations to further the intersection and application of place attachment in adaptation.