Variations in approaches to urban climate adaptation: Experiences and experimentation from the global South

Isabelle Anguelovski, Eric Chu, Jo Ann Carmin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

109 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, an increasing number of local governments are recognizing the impact of climate change on different urban sectors. This has led many to pursue climate adaptation planning, seeking to achieve preparedness through reducing vulnerability and enhancing resilience of populations, assets, and municipal operations. Although cities typically share these common goals, many are electing to pursue different planning approaches. In this paper, we examine three climate adaptation planning approaches in the cities of Quito (Ecuador), Surat (India), and Durban (South Africa) and analyze the trade-offs associated with different planning pathways and different forms of stakeholder involvement. We assess the potentials and limitations of these different approaches, including their implications for enhancing government integration and coordination, promoting participation and adaptive capacity of vulnerable groups, and facilitating overall urban resilience. We find that, in order to gain widespread commitment on adaptation, sustained political leadership from the top, departmental engagement, and continued involvement from a variety of stakeholders are integral to effective decision-making and institutionalization of programs in the long run. When climate adaptation is advanced with a focus on learning, awareness, and capacity building, the process will likely lead to more sustained, legitimate, and comprehensive adaptation plans and policies that enhance the resilience of the most affected urban areas and residents. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-167
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Cities
  • Climate adaptation
  • Experimentation
  • Innovation
  • Participation
  • Planning


Dive into the research topics of 'Variations in approaches to urban climate adaptation: Experiences and experimentation from the global South'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this