Journal of
Geography and Regional Planning

  • Abbreviation: J. Geogr. Reg. Plann.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2070-1845
  • DOI: 10.5897/JGRP
  • Start Year: 2008
  • Published Articles: 394

Full Length Research Paper

Improving the quality of Alaska Native Village climate change planning

Elizaveta Barrett Ristroph
  • Elizaveta Barrett Ristroph
  • Ristroph Law, Planning and Research, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 28 August 2018
  •  Accepted: 03 October 2018
  •  Published: 30 November 2018


Alaska Native Villages (ANVs) are trying to adapt to some of the most extreme climate change in the nation; but the planning systems in place for these communities are not necessarily leading to adaptive actions. Based on reviews of existing plans as well as interviews and conversations with 153 people that live in ANVs or influence ANVs plans and policies, this article describes how climate change adaptation and hazard mitigation planning is taking place and provides suggestions for improvement. Since few ANVs have stand-alone climate change plans, hazard mitigation plans are the primary plans for addressing climate-related hazards. Many ANVs have generic, externally produced plans which may enable communities to get funding for particular projects, but fail to address subsistence and other ANV concerns, and may never be implemented. While planners must grapple with limitations in time and funding as well as rigid requirements for hazard mitigation plans, they could improve planning by better incorporating community knowledge and lessons from past planning processes, developing action items to protect subsistence, and formatting plans so they are more accessible and useful.


Key words: Hazard mitigation plans, climate change adaptation, Alaska Native Villages, indigenous communities, plan quality, subsistence.