This article focuses on the acceptability of relocation of the goods the most exposed due to sea level rise, and this increasingly recommended strategy to reduce coastal vulnerability. However, the implementation of these measures raises significant individual and political resistance. The themes of this research relate specifically to the role of communication and to trust in the institutions responsible for implementing this measure. Communication has to be designed in a way to decrease distortions in individuals’ risk perception and to help improving quality of the governance of the adaptation to coastal flooding due to sea level rise. We conducted a questionnaire among 782 French coastal residents to deal with these two main dimensions of the acceptability of relocation. Firstly, we question the conditions for a favourable communication strategy by estimating the differentiated impact of communication using fear or conversely humour. Secondly, we study trust in institutions in charge of the implementation of relocation policies with several criteria of governance quality. Our results underline that humour-based communication has the comparative advantage of inducing a stronger emotional response in terms of stimulating interest and thought. Furthermore, the survey highlighted the influence of governance quality. These results confirm the decisive role of governance mechanisms for the acceptability of relocation. They also suggest a need for ongoing support to awareness-raising measures taking into account, among other psychological factors, the need for people to feel that they have some control over implemented measures.
Improving relocation acceptability by improving information and governance quality/results from a survey conducted in France
11 May 2020