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Moving beyond short-term coping and adaptation
Environment and Urbanization (2014)
  • Christine Wamsler
  • Ebba Brink

Throughout human history, people have coped with, and adapted to, their environment. This accumulated capacity at local level is increasingly recognized to be critical in improving resilience and transformation. Nevertheless, city dwellers’ coping and adaptive practices are little known, poorly documented and often not taken into account in the work of municipal authorities and aid organizations. Against this background, this study provides a systematic overview of urban residents’ coping and adaptive practices, presents critical insights into their risk-reducing effects and discusses their role in the development of policies and projects to increase resilience. It shows that coping should not automatically be seen as maladaptive. The success or failure of urban societies in building resilience and moving towards transformation does not necessarily depend on the effectiveness of individual coping strategies but on the flexibility and inclusiveness of coping/adaptation systems at the individual, household and community level (i.e. the combined set of strategies). Therefore, it is crucial to support the ability of urban communities 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.

  • climate change adaptation,
  • adaptive capacity,
  • adaptive practice,
  • climate change,
  • resilience,
  • urban transformation
Publication Date
Citation Information
Christine Wamsler and Ebba Brink. "Moving beyond short-term coping and adaptation" Environment and Urbanization Vol. 26 Iss. 1 (2014)
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