Session 70: Resilience and adaptation strategies for transitioning to a sustainable urban future


Session Abstract

This session was organized as a result of all the relevant scientific and technical information which could contribute to understanding climate change dynamics (natural variability and human-induced), the impacts and necessary adjustments for adaptation measures. The urban sector is among the most vulnerable, due to changes in the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, and duration of extreme weather and climate events. Different regions of the world may experience changes in the patterns of temperature and precipitation, and be affected by extreme events (e.g., storms, heavy rain, drought) which can be linked to El Niño, La Niña, or other natural phenomenon.

Each region has different physio-graphic and socio-economic conditions that require attention and a clear definition of strategies and priorities with regards to adaptation policies, in addition to the governance process. The difficulties lie precisely in the set of different interests; wherefore the government, social organizations and networks are essential for the governance system. It is necessary to expand the technical, political and institutional support. The surveys, assessments and mapping should assist civil society in favor of actions compatible with the regional and local scale. The governance processes should encourage the participation and understanding of all citizens, and the transfer of knowledge should be clear, with wide dissemination and discussion forums. Within this perspective, this session was based on strengthening relations between different sectors of society in addressing the challenges posed by climate change, adaptation measures and resilience.

Keywords: resilience, adaptation, transitions, sustainability


Key Discussion Points

Private sector engagement in the conversations of adaptation and resilience remains a challenge for governance. Key points and questions include:

  • To what degree can we depend on the private sector to adopt adaptation and resilience strategies beyond using insurance companies for their own internal risk assessments?
  • Interference, whether it is from government policy, regulation or market measures, is needed to affect the choices of the private sector; 
  • Framing – the private sector (developers) is building the city, therefore, if one can identify an interest or incentive towards sustainable development, there could be progress;
  • Investment and education of the private sector by the general public drives demand for developers to produce better, more sustainable solutions;
  • The power asymmetries of companies (e.g., water and energy) are so great that in many cases (cities) one can, as a consequence of governance fatigue, (i.e., time and energy in participatory processes that ultimately does not change these fundamental power structures), witness a post-governance phase where more direct action around these issues from civil groups is taken;
  • Ultimately, actors must be identified in each urban context, in order to find incentives or triggers for developing more sustainable solutions – then progress can be made; and,
  • Is it possible to come up with systems of intervention from understanding actor networks in case studies that aggregate to the global scale, in order to transition to a more sustainable future? What will we learn from comparisons of urban case studies? Is it possible to aggregate them to produce a general typology or check-list of factors that should be considered when engaging in the building of resilience or sustainable solutions in a particular urban setting?



Christopher Boone, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA

William Solecki, Hunter College – City University of New York, New York, NY, USA

Andrea Young, State University of Campinas, Campinas, Brazil



Robin Goodman, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Presentation Title: From strategy to action: Climate change adaptation and local government planning processes in Australia

Bart Lambregts, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand

Presentation Title: How do different urban development practices condition the potential for building resilience? A comparative case study of Thailand, Oman and The Netherlands

Ayyoob Sharifi, Global Carbon Project, Tsukuba, Japan

Presentation Title: Principles and criteria for urban resilience: A critical analysis of the literature


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