Double exposures and decision making: adaptation policy and planning in Ireland’s coastal cities during a boom–bust cycle

Jeffers, James (2013) Double exposures and decision making: adaptation policy and planning in Ireland’s coastal cities during a boom–bust cycle. Environment and Planning A, 45 (6). pp. 1436-1454. ISSN 0308-518X

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Abstract

The importance of the interactions between global environmental and socioeconomic changes in shaping vulnerability and exposure to hazards is now increasingly recognised. However, relatively little attention has been focused on the ways in which these interactions help to shape planning and policy in response to both processes. This paper examines how the intersections between the twin crises of economic recession and climate change are influencing hazards mitigation policy and climate change adaptation planning in three of Ireland’s coastal cities. The cities of Dublin, Cork, and Galway are important case studies for this analysis due to the magnitude of socioeconomic and environmental changes they have witnessed in recent years. The paper begins by using the doubleexposure framework to analyse how the interactions between global environmental and socioeconomic change have produced the contextual environment within which decision making and policy formation take place. This is followed by the presentation and analysis of the results of semistructured interviews with local decision makers and stakeholders. These illustrate that the interactions between environmental change and economic crisis have created the material and ideological conditions in which a neoliberal growth centred discourse of economic development dominates all areas of decision making andpolicy. This has important implications for environmental policy and planning in cities, promoting a vision of a modern competitive city in which technological solutions are the preferred means of addressing flood risks. These decisions in turn reshape the exposures and vulnerabilities of local communities.