Planning for climate change in urban areas: From theory to practice

Christine Wamsler, Ebba Brink, Claudia Rivera

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Climate change poses a serious threat to sustainable urban development, placing many cities at risk. As a consequence, city authorities are increasingly facing the challenge of finding ways to include adaptation strategies into their work, although related knowledge and competence is still scarce and fragmented. With the aim to contribute to knowledge development and organizational learning, the objective of this paper is to critically review and compare current theoretical and practical approaches to adaptation planning in cities. In order to do so, first the conceptual characteristics and features of a climate resilient city are identified. Second, the reciprocal linkages between climate-related disasters, urban
form and city planning processes are analysed e by considering the life cycle of disasters from causes, to short- and long-term impacts, to post-disaster response and recovery. Finally, urban adaptation measures proposed for both developed and so-called developing countries are assessed. On the basis of the identified differences, gaps and synergies between the theoretical and practical approaches to adaptation planning, the implications for improving sustainable urban transformation are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-81
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Building Technologies
  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Other Civil Engineering


  • climate change
  • disaster
  • risk reduction
  • urban planning
  • urban transformation
  • urban resilience
  • adaptation


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