Institutional foundations of adaptive planning: exploration of flood planning in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas, USA
Given the risk posed by escalating climate conditions, there is a need to assess how localities integrate adaptive planning into hazard mitigation and how this is enabled or constrained by existing planning institutions. We explore this for flood planning in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, United States–a largely underresourced and highly socioeconomically vulnerable area. Using Natural Language Processing to analyze county and regional hazard plans as well as transcripts of regional flood planning meetings, we find that adaptive planning is largely absent in the study area. Like many localities in the U.S., the communities in the study area have approached flood planning in static terms that do not fully consider future uncertainties; failed to engage diverse participation in planning; and neglected to pursue co-benefits possible with flood mitigation and other sectors. Critically, this may be a product of traditional planning institutions as well as limited local capacities.