Assessing Adaptive Capacity of Cities and Regions: Concerns Over Methodology and Usability

  • S. Juhola
Conference paper
Part of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security book series (NAPSC)


Cities are key locations within which responses to climate change need to be taken. The vulnerability of cities depends on combined factors of exposure to climate impacts, sensitivity of the system and adaptive capacity of the city that can be mobilised for action. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, adaptive capacity is defined as the ability or potential of a system to respond successfully to climate variability and change, and includes adjustments in both behaviour and in resources and technologies. Determinants of adaptive capacity are considered to include issues such as political institutions, economic resources, technological potential, infrastructure and equity.

Many studies have attempted to assess adaptive capacity of systems, and drawing on earlier work, this chapter presents results from a study that mapped adaptive capacity on the regional and city level. The results show widely differing capacities within cities and regions in Europe that can potentially have an impact on adaptation policy. Urging caution in terms of using the results to steer policy, this chapter concludes by discussing the shortcomings of adaptive capacity assessments in terms of methodological challenges.


Adaptive Capacity Vulnerability Assessment Adaptation Policy City Level Delphi Survey 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of Real Estate, Planning and GeoinformaticsAalto UniversityEspooFinland

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