Climate change is a significant challenge for policy makers, planners and communities. While adaptation responses are generally recognised to be place-based, policy processes on adaptation often reside with central (state or national) governments that may be remote from regional communities. In this paper, we contribute to the literature regarding how diverse regional communities engage with planning and policy for climate adaptation, which is important for successful implementation. We adopt a social network analysis (SNA) approach that enables an exploration of the interaction of community networks with policy information. There are limited empirical studies of information sharing about climate adaptation policy through community knowledge networks. One previous study, located in coastal New South Wales, Australia, mapped the community’s knowledge acquisition and diffusion to reveal the underlying network structures that influenced policy engagement pathways. However, further studies are needed to determine how the features of community networks may change with local context (e.g., coastal versus inland). This paper extends previous studies to compare and contrast adaptation knowledge networks in three NSW communities: Shoalhaven (the original coastal study site), Bega (coastal) and Orange (inland). Findings suggest that the presence of a natural resource-dependent industry, local geographies and boundary spanners acting as network knowledge brokers are factors influencing community knowledge flows. The work further demonstrates the utility of SNA to measure knowledge networks that can inform government engagement and communication with communities on climate adaptation policy.
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