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A question of ‘fit’: local perspectives on top-down flood mitigation policies in Vermont

Paul, Mark, Milman, Anita
Journal of environmental planning and management 2017 v.60 no.12 pp. 2217-2233
climate change, interviews, issues and policy, Vermont
Despite consensus on the need to adapt to climate change, who should adapt, and how, remain open questions. While local-level actions are essential to adaptation, state and federal governments can play a substantial role in adaptation. In this paper, we investigate local perspectives on state-level flood mitigation policies in Vermont as a means of analysing what leads top-down adaptations to be effective in mobilizing local action. Drawing on interviews with town officials, we delineate local-level perspectives on Vermont's top-down policies and use those perspectives to develop a conceptual framework that presents the ‘fit’ between top-down policies and the local-level context as comprised of three components: Receptivity , Ease of Participation , and Design . We explain how these components and their interactions influence local-level action. This analysis points to how careful consideration of the components of ‘fit’ may lead to greater local-level uptake of top-down adaptation policies.