Adaptive capacity : from coping to sustainable transformation

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People’s accumulated local capacity is increasingly recognized to be critical in enhancing disaster resilience and transformation. Nevertheless, citizens’ coping strategies are little known or
documented, and hardly considered in city authorities’ and aid organizations’ work. Against this background, this study provides an overview and systematization of citizens’ strategies to cope with
increasing disasters and climate change, presents critical insights on the positive and negative effects of such strategies, and discusses the relevance of taking them into account when formulating development policies and projects. The study shows that coping should not automatically be seen as being maladaptive. The success or failure of urban societies in building disaster resilience, and
moving beyond towards sustainable transformation, is not dependent on the effectiveness of single coping strategies, but the level of flexibility and inclusiveness of individuals’, households’ and communities’ coping systems (i.e. their combined set of used strategies). Supporting citizens to negotiate their needs and rights in order to increase the flexibility and inclusiveness of these systems, and make them more viable in today’s context, is thus crucial.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClimate change adaptation and development: transforming paradigms and practices
EditorsTor Håkon Inderberg, Siri H. Eriksen, Karen L. O'Brien, Linda Sygna
ISBN (Print)9781138025981
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


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