This project aims to better understand drivers and limitations of ‘new forms of governance and practice’ in different policy sectors, and the implications of these insights for theories of adaptation and learning in public policy.

  • Project dates: 2016

Through her Fellowship, Karyn is investigating socio-institutional dimensions of transformative adaptation. This aims to better understand drivers and limitations of ‘new forms of governance and practice’ in different policy sectors, and the implications of these insights for theories of adaptation and learning in public policy. It will analyse processes of institutional transformation and stasis in responding to climate change, as expressed through policies, practices, politics and governance.

These issues will be empirically examined through the policy sectors of natural resource management, disaster management, and general climate change adaptation planning at local, regional and state scales.

This work is taken from the perspective that politics, cultures and norms are more important than the choice of planning tool, or the exactitude of ‘the science’ in planning for and acting on climate change. Consequently, transformational adaptation requires shifts in socio-institutional factors that maintain unsustainable trajectories (GHG emissions, social inequalities, biodiversity degradation etc), and require a reflexive learning approach to both policy (adaptive management) and governance (adaptive/reflexive governance).

Socio-institutional dimensions of policy sectors can be revealed through using various planning approaches and tools as heuristics. Of particular interest to this research program are the concepts and approaches known as adaptation pathways planning and sustainability transitions management. The research program will explore and tackle these theories and practices through a number of interconnected work packages.

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