Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Global Governance and Human Security

First Advisor

Stacy D. VanDeveer

Second Advisor

Margaret P. Karns

Third Advisor

Karen Ross


The research puzzle addressed in this dissertation is why small and medium-sized cities initiate climate change adaptation policymaking. This research considers that urban climate adaptation policies are not formulated in isolation from direct and indirect decisions and actions that are made at the higher levels of power. It assumes that local authorities develop policies via interactions with experts (non-governmental organizations and academics) on knowledge production. Past and current experiences of environmental stressors are also impacting local policymaking. Using multi-level and polycentric governance as theoretical frameworks, this study compares the framing of climate change and climate adaptation policymaking interactions in the Arctic municipalities of Murmansk (Russia) and Tromsø (Norway). The topic of urban climate adaptation policymaking is understudied in academic research on Arctic governance and urban climate governance. Yet, these municipalities are located in the region that is currently most impacted by climate change. Discourse analysis and process tracing were employed to collect and analyze data from official documents, local newspaper articles, reports, archive materials, and semi-structured interviews. This study demonstrates that the differences in discourses on climate change and environmental problems across the municipalities derive from a synthesis of local authorities’ perceptions impacted by personal values and political, geographical, and climatic contexts. The national government maintains its presence in local environmental and climate change-related policymaking by enacting laws and allocating financial assistance to municipalities. It also reveals the complexity of city-expert environmental interactions beyond the non-state actors’ function of knowledge production and its dissemination. This research is relevant due to the growing need for urban adaptation actions in climate policies with the political acknowledgment of the inevitability of some climate change impacts. The topic of small and medium-sized cities' climate policy formation is critical in connection with the future sustainable and climate-resilient development of cities worldwide since the greater part of the global urban population resides in small urban settlements.


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