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Supporting urban adaptation to climate change: what role can resilience measurement tools play?

Cities are emerging as leading forces for climate change adaptation and resilience due to their financial, technological, and human capacities. Many approaches and tools have been developed and used over the last decades to measure climate resilience in cities and identify areas that need further intervention. In this study, we explore how and to what extent such tools can be or have been utilized by city-level actors to support their decision-making process for building climate resilience. To do this, we applied a document analysis of 27 tools developed for measuring urban climate resilience and supplemented it with 12 semi-structured interviews with local experts involved in implementation of these tools across the world. Our analysis shows that only 10 of these tools are designed to support implementing resilience actions while the rest mainly focus on sharing knowledge and raising awareness. We also observed a prevailing focus on evaluating coping capacities (as opposed to adaptive and transformative capacities) of cities against climate risks in such tools, which tends to trigger short-term solutions rather than long-term transformational adaptation strategies. Therefore, we argue that urban climate resilience measurement tools need to 1) support action implementation processes as much as assessing outcomes, and 2) consider the enabling environment for enhancing adaptive and transformative capacities as much as coping capacities of cities. Finally, we explore challenges and opportunities of resilience measurement practices for decision-making drawn from end-users’ insights.

Mehryar, Sara; Sasson, Idan; Surminski, Swenja

Language: English
Published By: Grantham Research Institute, LSE
Published date: July 2021

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