Document Type


Date of Award



Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs (SOPA)

Degree Name

Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Environmental Policy

Committee Chairperson

Lalita Sen

Committee Member 1

Glenn S Johnson

Committee Member 2

Robert Bullard

Committee Member 3

Andrew Ewoh

Committee Member 4

Howard Henderson


Climate adaptation plan, Climate change, Environmental hazard, Natural disaster, Smart city, Urbanization


The quest to address human and societal developmental requirements has caused urban cities to grow and expand (Zhao, Gao, & Cuo, 2016). Urbanization is a term associated with the physical development of metropolitan cities. The word relates closely to the developmental approach utilized in the formation of urban societies (Fishman, 2017). According to researchers, urbanization contributes to the impacts of climate change and associated natural disasters. Climate change is closely related to societal and environmental carbon footprints and greenhouse gas emissions (Brody, Zahran, Maghelal, Grover, & Highfield, 2007). Development activities and growth of municipal settings have substantial impacts on the environment and society. Expanding suburban communities away from the core of urban settings signifies expansion and extension (Zhao et al., 2016; Zhou, Leng, Su, & Ren, 2019). Urban growth has a significant spatial impact because of the extensive land space usage around cores of metropolitan settings. Challenges associated with urban sprawl include climate change and lack of mass transportation, depicted by transit mobility and accessibility constraints (Bienkowshi, 2018; Bullard, Johnson, & Torres, 2000; Majumdar, Sen, & Park, 2013; Sen & Mayfield, 2004). The development of urban cities and associated growth have the consequential effect of carbon footprints on metropolitan cities (Brody et al., 2007). The term carbon footprint is synonymous with greenhouse gas emission and global warming. Carbon footprint also has linkage with climate change (Benevolenza & DeRigne, 2018; Brody et al., 2007; Cross, 2013). Natural disasters such as damaging flooding and catastrophic wildfires ravaging human societies worldwide are consequential impacts of climate change (Benevolenza & DeRigne, 2018; Cross, 2013). Climate change also has a strong linkage with greenhouse gas emissions. The destructive impact of flooding has led to the call to establish a flood mitigation plan from various quarters (Brody et al., 2007; Burby & Dalton, 1994). Climate change adaptation ideology emanated from the call from various quarters, including researchers, scholars, and practitioners, to ensure stabilization and sustainability of vulnerable cities (Cox et al., 2019). The development of an adaptation plan enables city planners to identify appropriate and applicable policies that will help inhabitants of societies to acclimatize with the probable effects of climate change (Cox et al., 2019; Gleeson, 2016). The adaptation plan developed by communities and cities will also enable the establishment of a suitable implementation methodology and an execution approach tailored to suit environmental and societal requirements and conditions (Cox et al., 2019). With a well-structured climate change adaptation plan, communities and cities will have access to tools that helps with risk assessment understanding (McDaniels, Chang, Hawkins, Chew, & Longstaff, 2015; Nance, 2009). Judicious and equitable implementation of articulated climate change adaption plan will equally enable citizens to acquire necessary skills required to manage risks associated with impacts of climate change (Bullard et al., 2000; Mahlkow & Donner, 2017). This research endeavor addresses gaps in scholarly literature regarding equity and social justice associated with climate adaptation plan quality. The study encompasses a comparative analysis of the adaptability of coastal cities in the United States to the impacts of climate change (Araos et al., 2016; Babbie, 2017; Bullard et al., 2000; Bullard & Wright, 2012). It focuses on examining the conceptualization and implementation of climate adaptation plans using nine plan quality principles (Araos et al., 2016). The study aims to contribute to scholarly research inquiries in climate adaptation plans by incorporating equity and social justice as an additional plan quality principle (Bullard et al., 2000; Bullard & Wright, 2012). I hypothesize that incorporating equity and social justice into climate adaptation plans will enhance plan quality and mitigate disproportionate social impacts on vulnerable populations (Araos et al., 2016; Babbie, 2017; Bullard et al., 2000; Bullard & Wright, 2012).


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