© All rights reserved. Illustrations used in this study are the property of BC3 Basque Centre for Climate Change - IMAGINE adaptation (ERC, IMAGINE adaptation, 101039429). Author Josune Urrutia.

New framework to centre justice in urban adaptation planning

Marta Olazabal
November 6, 2023
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We have a new study that is relevant for all of you working on urban adaptation planning and decision-making. The study presents a pragmatic framework or the use of socio-economic projections to centre justice in urban adaptation planning efforts and promote a new form of inclusive data-driven governance.

As many of you know, during the past years I have been analysing hundreds of adaptation plans and policies worldwide. One of the things that really caught my attention was the poor use of socio-economic data and projections in adaptation planning. At the moment, not more than 80% of the adaptation documents that we revised considered socio-economic projections (Olazabal et al. 2019). Even when they do, often they just consider total population growth at certain points in time (e.g. 2030). This means that we are planning on current risks and vulnerabilities, not considering how society and the economy (our cities’ dynamics) might change in the future. Not surprising that many urban adaptation plans do not identify who will in fact benefit from adaptation actions (Olazabal and Ruiz de Gopegi 2021).

How will we be able to enable JUST adaptation if we don’t understand where the social vulnerabilities will be and what the most important factors that affect them are? It is widely acknowledged that a fair amount of the blame for the impacts of climate change is not only connected to the climate hazards themselves but to the structural vulnerabilities of our societies. And this, in cities, becomes a very important aspect to consider when planning to adapt.

So…

Mia Prall visited BC3 – Basque Centre for Climate Change and together with Martin Lehmann, we decided to start a study where we wanted to see what the literature on justice and climate adaptation planning was saying about the benefits of using socio-economic projections (SEP). Somehow expected, through our analysis, we found that while SEP “have not been explicitly linked to justice outcomes in the existing literature, clear potentials exist for these to be used as a tool to promote distributive, procedural, and recognition and restorative justice.”

Based on this analysis, we propose a very pragmatic framework (organised by stage of the adaptation policy cycle, types of potential actions and elements of justice that could be benefited) for the use of SEP to centre justice in urban adaptation planning efforts and promote a new form of inclusive data-driven governance.

➡️ DOWNLOAD HERE

It is open access: you can download it and read it.

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