Connecting the Dots: The Politics of Governing Urban Climate Adaptation Innovations Through Transnational Municipal Networks

Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


Since Agenda 21 was ratified at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, a number of transnational municipal networks (TMNs) have emerged to promote a variety of sustainability and climate change actions. Despite research on the role of TMNs in facilitating urban climate action, there have been few reflexive inquiries regarding how governance actors, institutions, and processes have transformed resulting from local governments’ participation in TMNs. In this chapter, I investigate how TMNs have promoted urban adaptation actions as well as their effects on local government climate policy processes. I first draw on the theories of multi-level governance, urban planning, and social innovation in the context of climate change to develop a framework for governing adaptation innovations through a model of contentious urban politics. I then apply this framework to explore climate adaptation processes in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Berkeley (California, United States), and examine the actors, resources, and networks involved in motivating, sustaining, and prioritizing adaptation across competing sectoral agendas. The results note that the successful and eventual uptake of adaptive innovations requires communicating competing interests, confronting conflicts, and building cross-sectoral coalitions. I conclude by arguing that a model of contentious politics, especially as advocated by TMNs, is more appropriate to understand how governance innovations can be harnessed to promote more climate adaptive cities.


Transnational municipal networks Mutli-level governance Climate adaptation Urban innovation 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Urban Studies and PlanningUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUnited Kingdom

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