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Adaptive capacity : from coping to sustainable transformation

  • Christine Wamsler
  • Ebba Brink
  • Tor Håkon Inderberg
  • Siri H. Eriksen
  • Karen L. O'Brien
  • Linda Sygna
Publishing year: 2015
Language: English
Pages: 54-82
Publication/Series: Climate change adaptation and development: transforming paradigms and practices
Document type: Book chapter
Publisher: Routledge

Abstract english

People’s accumulated local capacity is increasingly recognized to be critical in enhancing disaster resilience and transformation. Nevertheless, citizens’ coping strategies are little known or

documented, and hardly considered in city authorities’ and aid organizations’ work. Against this background, this study provides an overview and systematization of citizens’ strategies to cope with

increasing disasters and climate change, presents critical insights on the positive and negative effects of such strategies, and discusses the relevance of taking them into account when formulating development policies and projects. The study shows that coping should not automatically be seen as being maladaptive. The success or failure of urban societies in building disaster resilience, and

moving beyond towards sustainable transformation, is not dependent on the effectiveness of single coping strategies, but the level of flexibility and inclusiveness of individuals’, households’ and communities’ coping systems (i.e. their combined set of used strategies). Supporting citizens to negotiate their needs and rights in order to increase the flexibility and inclusiveness of these systems, and make them more viable in today’s context, is thus crucial.


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • ISBN: 9781138025981
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