Graham Sustainability Institute

Making Climate Science Accessible in Toledo: The Linked Boundary Chain Approach

May 2015

This study presents the City of Toledo, Ohio as a case study of the policy process leading to proactive action on climate change.

For many cities throughout the world, climate change presents challenges, namely new risks and expenses, but climate planning also presents opportunities to connect climate change efforts with other development and environmental initiatives. This study presents the City of Toledo, Ohio as a case study demonstrating the policy process involved in proactive climate change action. Our team traced Toledo’s adaptation policy process through the lens of Kingdon’s “multiple streams” model. We identifed factors shaping the emergence of climate adaptation work through water management activities in Toledo.

Our team highlighted the knowledge resources important to Toledo's stakeholders, including the connection to GLAA-C and GLISA. Policy entrepreneurs advocating for climate adaptation as a part of water policy development in Toledo emerged around two separate areas of the policy process. The first entrepreneur raised general awareness about sustainability and climate change in the City’s problem stream. The other was involved with integrating climate change information into a particular aspect of the City’s water management policy. While these relationships were important for mainstreaming climate change adaptation into efforts to address existing challenges, they were also representative of the City’s ability to cultivate broader climate adaptation partnerships. Toledo’s polycentric climate change network ultimately helped the City sustain its adaptation work as it weathered a period of internal transition.