Preparing Cities for Climate Change: An International Comparative Assessment of Urban Adaptation Planning. A Research Agenda
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The research objective of this project is to conduct an international comparative assessment of urban adaptation planning. Cities throughout the world are experiencing chronic problems and extreme events that are being attributed climate change. Although there is a critical need for cities to protect their built, natural, and human environments, there is notable variability in the approaches they are taking. At one extreme, some cities are developing dedicated and integrated climate adaptation plans. At the other extreme are cities that have not established any plans or initiated any adaptation measures whatsoever. Drawing on theories of diffusion and capacity, and case study and survey methodologies, this comparative international research examines: (1) the types of plans for climate adaptation being adopted in cities; (2) factors associated with differences in the approaches urban municipalities are taking toward climate adaptation planning; and (3) the ways that the efforts of nongovernmental and community-based organizations complement, circumvent, and replace government adaptation initiatives. The results from this inquiry will expand our understanding of the forces and factors shaping decisions related to urban climate action. They also will deepen our knowledge of how civil society actors affect the capacity local governments. Disaster risk reduction is a critical component of climate adaptation planning. Therefore, as a consequence of studying adaptation, this research will enhance our understanding of the social and political dimensions of planning for natural disasters. To ensure that the policy-relevant results reach decision-makers in cities, the findings will be summarized in a report and disseminated to members of climate and local government networks. The research findings also will form the basis for case studies that can be used in graduate-level courses and will contribute to the development of a web tool designed to assist cities in their adaptation initiatives. In addition to generating policy and educational materials, graduate students will have opportunities to gain experience conducting research in international settings.
Climate change; adaptation; urban planning; cities
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