Department or Program

Environmental Studies


This thesis explores discrepancies in degrees of vulnerability within coastal communities to flooding events, and the impact adaptive measures may have on these vulnerabilities, as well as analyzing the success or maladaptiveness of adaptive action and the consequences of not incorporating adequate local knowledge. Through a review of academic writings, news outlets, governmental policy websites, and census data, a contextual understanding of Phippsburg, Maine is outlined establishing a connection to theory. The document analysis revealed that approaching adaptation, a grounded consideration of vulnerability is essential in avoiding maladaptive consequences and negatively impacting resilience. Applying conducted interviews and a policy review, the overall research identified five emerging themes. The findings highlight the spectrum of vulnerability, and subsequent resilience, present within Phippsburg, as individuals are more or less vulnerable dependent on their identities. Additionally, the findings highlight how maladaptation can cause shifts in power dynamics and how property ownership equates to the obtainment of power. The study advocates for more cohesion and collaboration amongst coastal communities, as divisive separation equates to inaccurate holistic depictions of community vulnerability and silences perspectives that do not occupy power positions.

Level of Access

Restricted: Embargoed [Open Access After Expiration]

First Advisor

Jamie Haverkamp

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages



Available to all on Tuesday, April 29, 2025