Christa Daniels, Ph.D., is a 2018 graduate of the Ph.D. Program in Environmental Studies at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • James Gruber, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Jean Kayira, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Stephen Sheppard, Ph.D., Committee Member


climate change adaptation, climate engagement, climate resilience, climate barriers, landscape visualization

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Publication Date



Research suggests an “Adaptation Deficit” exists in the realm of climate change mitigation and adaptation. There is a lack of climate adaptation goals, policies and projects implemented at the local level. Climate resilience relies on effective public engagement to ensure implementation. This type of engagement includes: (1) being aware of the issue and solutions; (2) feeling concerned about the problem; and (3) taking action. This research explores the impact of in situ 3D landscape visualization coupled with meaningful dialogue, on public engagement for climate change resilience. A mixed methods approach was used to undertake this research study using landscape visualization in an experiential outdoor setting in San Mateo County, California. San Mateo County was chosen as an optimal site for this research because of efforts underway to plan and prepare for sea level rise across the region. Since the research was part of a larger project with numerous stakeholders, many characteristics of Action Research (AR) were incorporated into the research design. This included working with local, regional, state and federal stakeholders to choose the exact site location, target audience, and project objectives to be accomplished from the research study. The overall goal of the project was to increase community concern about sea level rise and prompt target audience members to take an active role in their community on climate change adaptation. The research component of the project tested the use of landscape visualization to gauge impacts on concern and engagement levels, along with correlations between age, concern and engagement. The landscape visualization process used 3D imagery loaded into two viewfinders, called OWLS, that depicted current and future sea-level rise scenarios along with two possible solutions for Coyote Beach recreational area. Findings indicate that landscape visualization increases concern levels in participants that harbor low to no concern about existing sea-level rise, high tides, and storms. There was a statistically significant relationship between high concern levels and higher levels of engagement on the issue of climate adaptation. Lastly, data were collected to understand barriers to climate change engagement and adaptation and consider solutions that could overcome specific barriers identified. Using visual imagery along with meaningful dialogue allowed for a deep exploration of these barriers and solutions to be explored. Further research is needed to further test the application of landscape visualization along with meaningful dialogue on the issue of climate change in other locations, and to explore applicability in different settings and with different audiences.


Christa Daniels

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0001-6028-0874