Urban Adaptation to Climate Change

urban thumb

QuickShare your content (Spanish version)

This initiative seeks to present an urban perspective on the adaptation challenge. Looking at cities is important when thinking about climate change adaptation for various reasons. For instance, due to the high complexity of the systems operating within and servicing a city (e.g. food, energy, water, waste, transport systems, etc.), changes in climate can affect its sound operation. Also, as urbanisation trends are on the rise – in 2008, and for the first time, the majority of the world population (3.3 billion) consisted of city dwellers, and by 2030 the number is expected to grow to 5 billion  - pressure is increasingly exerted on the capacity of cities and of the ecosystem services that they rely on to provide quality of life to its residents.  

As adaptation efforts need to be context-specific, local knowledge and the participation of local authorities and actors in the adaptation process should play a major role.  Indeed, cities often lead the way, ahead of national or supra-national (e.g. EU) adaptation efforts. At the same time, there is a need to coordinate and synergise initiatives at levels higher than the local, which requires constructive interactions between multiple levels of governance (i.e. between different levels of government, plus private sector and civil society).

Challenges to adaptation at the urban level include funding constraints, weak stakeholder engagement processes, insufficient knowledge, difficulty in integrating and creating synergies with mitigation efforts and other city initiatives, and the inability to exploit local knowledge potentials (e.g. because the information held by certain groups, and the groups’ needs, are not taken into consideration), among others. Furthermore, adaptation at the local level is often conducted with a piecemeal approach, failing to take advantage of the benefits of understanding the city systems and the linkages between sectors and climate impacts in a holistic way.

Appropriate frameworks for planning and conducting adaptation work, therefore, can provide a useful guide to city officials in their efforts to achieve desired results for various stakeholders and city departments, who often have different and competing values and priorities. 

If you work on any of these topics please do consider joining this initiative and adding urban adaptation related content that you have developed, and that others can engage with and learn from. Thank you!

Contacts

Participating Organisations

SEI

Further resources

  • Urban challenges to adaptation: These include funding constraints, weak stakeholder engagement processes, insufficient availability and sharing of knowledge, difficulty in integrating efforts with adaptation and other policies or urban initiatives, inability to leverage local knowledge potentials, and multi level governance issues. Share your views and read more...
  • Frameworks and methodologies to plan and conduct adaptation work at the urban level: Appropriate frameworks for planning and conducting adaptation work can provide a useful guide to city officials in their efforts to achieve desired results for various stakeholders and city departments, who often have different and competing values and priorities. Relevant information on this subject is available in the Adaptation Decision Making initiative.
  • Vulnerability indicators at the urban level: Is it important, worthwhile, necessary or even feasible to develop vulnerability indicators? How can these be proper and socially fair representations of urban vulnerabilities? What use can city actors give them? Share your views and read more...
  • Funding adaptation initiatives at the local level: Is adaptation funding trickling down to the urban level? Who is responsible to provide funding - is it international organisations, or private sector funding, or national and local authorities, or does it come down to individuals? Where is the available funding going? Share your views and read more...  
  • Location specific urban adaptation material: Read about cases on urban adaptation in the Adaptation Layer

 

Related Resources

  • Urban Resilience Roadmap [USAID ADAPT Asia-Pacific] - this roadmap is an interactive tool to help cities, government agencies, and development partners better navigate a course for building resilience, starting from strategy development and resulting in project implementation
  • Urban Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience – A Training Manual [USAID ADAPT Asia-Pacific] - this is a standalone capacity building program that aims to improve climate change knowledge among mid- to senior-level managers working in urban and infrastructure planning and, in turn, help them design better adaptation projects.

Members

Pages

Latest Discussions

Gabriela Mercurio

Request for Quotations: creation of final learning report for climate adaptation project

“Cities Alliance is inviting contractors (legal entities) to provide their quotations to carry out the final learning...”

Read discussion
Christina Daszkiewicz

RISE Africa 2021 Action Festival (24-28 May 2021)

“RISE Africa is ICLEI Africa’s new annual event that will inspire impactful actions for enhanced sustainability and...”

Read discussion
C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF)

Webinar: Exploring the different pathways for implementing city-wide transformative riverine management in Durban

“Click here to register The eThekwini Municipality (Durban) supported by the C40 City Finance Facility (CFF) has...”

Read discussion
Matthew Carter

Digital Transformation (smart street lighting)

“Hello All, I am currently working on promoting a wind and solar powered smart pole that can reduce the carbon footprint...”

Read discussion
Arno Rosemarin

Combined sewer systems, flooding and COVID-19 - a wake up call

“Combined sewer systems (CSS) go back to the mid-1800s. And many of our older cities around the world still have these...”

Read discussion
Gabriela Mercurio

Call for Proposals - Stronger Partnerships: Local Innovations for New Climate Realities in Cities

“Cities Alliance has launched a new Innovation Call for Proposals to support affordable, accessible and innovative...”

Read discussion

Participating Organisations

SEI