Essential Capacities for Urban Climate Adaptation

The Innovation Network for Communities’ Essential Capacities for Urban Climate Adaptation report provides a review of the promising practices in urban adaptation, a summary of recent advances in the field, and a roadmap for communities to continue advancing adaptation practices.

The report presents a framework that includes seven “capacities” for effective short- and long-term urban climate adaptation, including:

  1. Scientific Foundation
  2. Communications
  3. Equitable Adaptation
  4. Inclusive Community Engagement
  5. Intergovernmental Alignment
  6. Technical Design
  7. Financial Resources

Each of the seven capacities are described in detail along with multiple examples of cities that have successfully adopted these capacities. Here are some highlights from each category:

- A Scientific Foundation is portrayed by San Francisco, California’s “Guidance for Incorporating Sea Level Rise into Capital Planning in San Francisco which was built to integrate sea level rise projections into city capital projections, and was later incorporated into the city’s Sea Level Rise Action Plan.

- The section regarding Communications highlights the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative where 18 cities and the county are in partnership with academia, non-profits, and businesses to develop climate solutions. 

- Equitable Adaptation is well supported by Boston, Massachusetts’ 100 Resilient Cities strategy - Climate Ready Boston - which is focused on increasing resilience by reducing economic and racial inequality.

- Inclusive Community Engagement is demonstrated in Cleveland, Ohio where city officials worked with community development corporations in low-income neighborhoods to develop a Neighborhood Climate Action Toolkit with tools, resources, and guidance that help neighborhoods to increase adaptive capacity and resilience.

- Intergovernmental Alignment is exemplified in Salt Lake City, Utah, where city government worked with other municipalities in the region, which after several years morphed into the Utah Climate Action Network. This forum for regional collaboration now has about 30 governmental and other local organizations focused on adaptation planning, and coordinates with relevant state and federal programs.

- Technical Design for urban adaptation is found in New York City through the Rebuild by Design competition to create physical infrastructure solutions for sea level rise, which attracted the expertise of design teams from around the world. 

- Example Financial Resources for adaptation includes Berkeley, California’s $100 million bond Measure T1 to improve the city’s infrastructure, with priorities on equity, green infrastructure and climate resiliency.


Publication Date: March 2017


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