(Mal) Adaptation to extreme urban heat: At what cost, to whom?

Project: Research

Project Details


Cities are hotspots for the impacts of “unbearable” heat, projected to worsen dramatically and risk exceeding the adaptive capacity of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, already struggling to cope and recover. This project examines how inequality interacts with adaptation responses to extreme urban heat and aims to identify the institutional conditions required for building socially sound and climate-resilient cities.

The project employs a relational approach, drawing on empirical evidence in Accra, Ghana. Located in a climatically vulnerable region, the city shares features of many metropolises in the global South, where sweltering heat is intertwined with mounting inequality, growing urban population, and uneven development. By using a mixed-methods approach, we integrate quantitative techniques and qualitative methods to collect and analyze data on how the benefits or costs of adaptation policy responses are distributed among different social groups.

The project findings fill the following knowledge gaps: First, it addresses the urgent call for research regarding the impacts of heatwaves and related adaptation responses in Sub-Saharan Africa. Second, it will systematically map out the adaptation gaps and maladaptation practices linked with various socio-economic factors. Third, it develops an analytical framework to provide robust explanations of causes of uneven impacts of adaptation responses, essential for formulating inclusive adaptation policies and practices.
Effective start/end date2023/09/012027/09/01

Collaborative partners

UKÄ subject classification

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Natural Sciences