Session 61: Regional perspectives on urban transformations for adaptation to climate change


Session Abstract

Many regions across the globe face social, economic and environmental risk. These shifts and transformations pose serious challenges in view of climate change, land-use change and increasing disaster risk. The scale and extent of climate change projected over this century, coupled with resource constraints and other challenges will make business as usual or ad hoc reforms untenable. The search for urban transition pathways towards more sustainable forms of regional urbanism has picked up among academics, practitioners and policy-makers. This session aimed to take stock of the transformation trajectories with evidence-based information on emerging pathways for transitioning to sustainable urban development. The session discussed good practices that identify possible plausible pathways for urban transitions, which will form the basis of future research engagement among the stakeholders.

Keywords: climate change, adaptation, sustainable development, urbanization, transitions, land use change, disaster risk management


Key Discussion Points

Informality, political structures and power relations, and macroeconomics (private sector and economic actors) are all areas that need to be better researched in the dimension of adaptation and transformation.  In this context, important points include:

  • Power-relations cross cut across place-based and people-based vulnerabilities (social and scalar), how this is mediated depends on institutional and scale power relations down to the intra-household;
  • Informality defines the rules of the game, i.e., institutional power-relationships;
  • Informal areas are dominant in some countries, therefore it is necessary to make sure these voices are included in the discussion of urban development; to ensure sustainable development these informal populations must be integrated;
  • In the case of multi-hazard exposures, the drivers of vulnerability are often associated with the level of access to information and political participation; and,
  • Rapid urbanization is driven by economic decisions and increasingly by private actors or corporations that are building cities; these actors and processes need to be better understood.



Shuaib Lwasa, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

Patricia Romero-Lankao , National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA

David Simon, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, UK 



Matthias Garschagen, United Nations University, Institute for Environment and Human Security, Bonn, Germany

Presentation Title: Risky change? Bridging state and non-state divides in Vietnam's transforming urban risk governance and drawing lessons beyond

Richard Sliuzas, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands

Presentation Title: Using spatial scenarios to explore possible transformation pathways for African cities

Olivia Bina, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal

Presentation Title: Squaring circles: developing the arguments and framework for the definition of sustainable urban scenarios capable of engaging with global sustainability constraints

Patricia Romero-Lankao, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA

Presentation Title: Exploring health risks in urban Latin America and Asia

Senay Habtezion, International START Secretariat, Washington, DC, USA

Presentation Title: The politics of devolution in Africa: Implications for urban disaster risk reduction & disaster risk management


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