Javascript is not activated in your browser. This website needs javascript activated to work properly.
You are here

From Risk Governance to City-Citizen Collaboration: Capitalizing on Individual Adaptation to Climate Change

  • Christine Wamsler
Publishing year: 2016
Language: English
Pages: 184-204
Publication/Series: Environmental Policy and Governance
Volume: 26
Issue: 3
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Abstract english

Urban societies are increasingly affected by climatic variability and extremes. In theory, adaptation policy creates the conditions needed to support autonomous adaptation – or deliver public adaptation if autonomous adaptation fails to develop. However, little attention has been given to autonomous adaptation by private households and individuals, and how it is taken into account in cities’ strategic adaptation planning. Against this background, this paper examines the synergies between measures taken by city authorities and citizens, and, more specifically, how public adaptation planning enhances or inhibits private (individual) adaptation. Based on a literature review and an in-depth study of German municipalities, existing types of city–citizen interaction are systematized. The results show that targeted city–citizen collaboration for climate change adaptation is practically non-existent. City authorities rarely pay sufficient attention to financial and structural aid for individual adaptation. Conversely, the available municipal support for individual adaptation has little take-up by members of the public. Furthermore, urban policy and planning often counteract collaboration and the implementation of measures that meet citizens’ capacities and needs. The paper concludes that improving city–citizen collaboration for adaptation co-production is an important step in fostering transformative adaptation, if the barriers and driving forces identified in the study are addressed. The framework that is presented advances theory on city–citizen interactions for adaptation co-production, providing a basis for related analyses, action and further research.


  • Environmental Sciences


  • ISSN: 1756-9338
Christine Wamsler
E-mail: christine [dot] wamsler [at] lucsus [dot] lu [dot] se

P.O. Box 170, SE-222 70 Lund, Sweden
Phone: +46(0)46- 222 80 81
info [at] lucsus [dot] lu [dot] se