The previous two decades of scholarship devoted to the role of social justice in climate change adaptation has established an important theoretical basis to evaluate the concept of just adaptation, or, in other words, how the implementation of climate adaptation policy affects socially vulnerable groups. This paper synthesizes insights from relevant literature on urban climate change governance, climate adaptation, urban planning, social justice theory, and policy implementation to develop three propositions concerning the conditions that must occur to implement just adaptation. First, just adaptation requires the inclusion of socially vulnerable as full participants with agency to shape the decisions that affect them. Second, just adaptation requires that adaptation framings explicitly recognize the causes of systemic injustice. Third, just adaptation requires a focus on incremental evaluations of implementation to avoid timeframes inconsistent with advancing justice. We then integrate the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) with the just adaptation literature to develop a framework to evaluate the implementation of climate adaptation. We present two novel modifications to the ACF aimed at fostering policy analysis of the previously presented three propositions for implementation of just adaptation.


Natural Resources and the Environment

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Climatic Change



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This is an Accepted Manuscript. The final publication is available at Springer via

This publication is an outcome from Jeffrey T. Malloy's PhD dissertation, which can be viewed here: