Collaborative Governance for Climate Change Adaptation: Mapping citizen–municipality interactions

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Increasing climate change impacts are a major threat to sustainable urban development, and challenge current governance structures, including actors' responsibilities for dealing with climate variability and extremes. The need for distributed risk governance and citizen engagement is increasingly recognised; however, few empirical studies systematically assess interactions between citizens and municipalities in climate risk management and adaptation. Here, we develop an explorative framework, applied to three Swedish municipalities, to map existing ‘adaptation interactions’ and analyse how responsibilities for climate adaptation manifest and are (re)negotiated. The results show that adaptation planners rarely consider collaborations with citizens, despite positive adaptation outcomes from related local processes. Structures and mechanisms for systematic monitoring and learning are also lacking. We argue that fostering collaborations with citizens – to support long-term adaptation and reduce the adaptation burden of those most at risk – requires consideration of four strategic issues: proactive engagement; equity and ‘responsibilisation’; nature-based approaches; and systematic adaptation mainstreaming. Finally, we discuss how our analytical framework can contribute to further theorising municipalities' engagement with citizens on climate risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-97
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Policy and Governance
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Mar 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Climate Research

Free keywords

  • autonomous adaptation
  • citizen participation
  • climate change adaptation
  • co-creation
  • co-production
  • collaborative arrangements
  • collaborative governance
  • disaster risk reduction
  • individual adaptation
  • nature-based solutions
  • private adaptation
  • risk governance


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