Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 529–538 | Cite as

Sustainability principles put into practice: case studies of network analysis in Swiss climate change adaptation

  • Karin IngoldEmail author
  • Jörg Balsiger
Original Article


Climate adaptation policies increasingly incorporate sustainability principles into their design and implementation. Since successful adaptation by means of adaptive capacity is recognized as being dependent upon progress toward sustainable development, policy design is increasingly characterized by the inclusion of state and non-state actors (horizontal actor integration), cross-sectoral collaboration, and inter-generational planning perspectives. Comparing four case studies in Swiss mountain regions, three located in the Upper Rhone region and one case from western Switzerland, we investigate how sustainability is put into practice. We argue that collaboration networks and sustainability perceptions matter when assessing the implementation of sustainability in local climate change adaptation. In other words, we suggest that adaptation is successful where sustainability perceptions translate into cross-sectoral integration and collaboration on the ground. Data about perceptions and network relations are assessed through surveys and treated via cluster and social network analysis.


Climate change adaptation Sustainability Local communities Social network analysis 

Supplementary material

10113_2013_575_MOESM1_ESM.docx (33 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 33 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Political Science and Oeschger Center for Climate Change ResearchUniversity of BerneBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.EAWAGDübendorfSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Geography and EnvironmentUniversity of GenevaGenèveSwitzerland

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