Understanding Resistance to Flood Risk Mapping: A Test of Climax Thinking in Southwestern Nova Scotia
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As a result of climate change, flooding is projected to become more severe and frequent. Flood risk mapping delineates areas of past and potential future flooding, and allows for informed decision-making regarding personal and community planning. However, there has been resistance to flood risk mapping, with opponents citing potential decline of property values. This thesis explores resistance to flood risk mapping through the lens of climax thinking. Climax thinking considers why people exhibit resistance to proposed land use changes, allowing for better understanding of the prevalence and nature of resistance to change. The aim of this study was to examine flood experiences, explore the presence of resistance to flood risk mapping, and analyze if climax thinking could explain this resistance. To address this aim, surveys were administered in the towns of Liverpool and Bridgewater in Southwestern Nova Scotia. The survey elicited flood experiences and opinions of residents. We found that approximately one third of the respondents in these communities have experienced flooding, yet the majority have not seen a flood map, nor were they concerned about the impact of flooding in the near future. Resistance to flood mapping was present in one sixth of the sample, with the main underlying reason for this resistance being concerns about loss of property value. Climax thinking was a significant predictor of this resistance, specifically in the dimension of ignorance of their ability to adapt or the recognize the impact of their adaptation decisions on others in their community. These results can be applied in order to implement provincial flood risk mapping in a manner that will be accepted by individuals and communities, as resistance can likely be reduced through community-centric framing programs that help reduce potential real estate value loss.