Adaptation Platforms – a Way Forward for Adaptation Governance in Small Cities? Lessons Learned from Two Cities in Germany
30 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2022
Smaller towns have hardly put climate change adaptation on their political agendas. They are often seen to lack the political capacities and formal resources required to initiate climate change adaptation. In the urban governance literature, the role(s) small cities (can) play in adaptation governance has been overlooked. Like large cities, small cities are complex urban systems, where the governance of adaptation requires coordination across many scales and where the need for alternative governance approaches that go beyond technocratic and top-down planning has become visible.Drawing from the platform governance literature, we introduce adaptation platforms as a novel, low-threshold approach to initiate climate adaptation governance in small cities. We present two empirical cases of small cities in Germany, where two distinct types of adaptation platforms were established. In Boizenburg (Elbe) in Northern Germany, an adaptation platform (“Platz-B”) was set up in the municipal administration. In the local authority association of Liebenwerda, in Eastern Germany, the platform (“Lighthouse Louise”) was developed through an association, which is organized by civil society. We present the context conditions for establishing the platforms, their core principles, functions, and some of the adaptation projects which were initiated. Lastly, we discuss the limitations of the platform approach.
Keywords: Complex problems, small cities, climate change adaptation, platform governance, coordination, multilevel governance
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