Understanding Urban Vulnerability, Adaptation and Resilience in the Context of Climate Change

Harriet Bulkeleya and Rafael Tuts
Created: 11/20/2013 -


This paper introduces a special issue of Local Environment that has arisen through collaboration between academic researchers and the Urban Planning and Design Branch of UN-Habitat, focused on how we can understand and respond to the challenges of urban vulnerability, adaptation and resilience in the context of climate change. The paper establishes the existing state of the art in the field, and considers critical challenges that are emerging in the research-based literature. In this context, it introduces UN-Habitat's Cities and Climate Change Initiative and reflects on the lessons learnt and challenges ahead, drawing on insights from across the papers in the special issue. In conclusion, it identifies the role of international/transnational co-operation, the relation between adaptation and mitigation, issues of multi-level governance and the ways in which change in urban socio-technical systems might be achieved as critical issues across the science/policy interface where increased dialogue and the co-production of knowledge needs to focus in order to advance this agenda.

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UN-Habitat is the United Nations programme working towards a better urban future. Its mission is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all.