Facilitating local adaptive capacity for uban heat
Sprong, H.W. van der
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Adaptation to heat in Dutch municipalities is a relatively under-addressed issue. However, projections from the Royal National Meteorological Institute and other studies indicate that in the future the occurrence of heat and heat waves will strongly increase. Especially in urban areas, the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect will contribute to high temperatures. An important factor in improving the vulnerability of society to climate change impacts, is to strengthen its adaptive capacity. Institutions play a key role in the development of societal adaptive capacity, since an enabling institutional environment is perceived as an important precondition for the implementation of adaptation measures. The Adaptive Capacity Wheel (ACW) as developed by Gupta et al. (2010) is a framework to assess institutional adaptive capacity. The assumption behind the ACW is that facilitating for adaptive capacity will lead to more adaptation in society. In this research project, the relevance of each of the dimensions incorporated in the framework is valued for the issue of local urban heat, with the aim to contribute to theory on how municipal governments can facilitate the development of societal adaptive capacity for heat. These dimensions are variety, learning capacity, room for autonomous change, leadership, resources and fair governance. Within a qualitative research strategy, first a preliminary literature is conducted to identify relevant international insights on local heat adaptation and governance. Second, a single in-depth case study is conducted in the frontrunner municipality of Arnhem to assess the relevance of the ACW dimensions for heat. Third, an expert study was held using interviews to gain helicopter view insights. Results indicate that criteria within the process dimensions of variety, learning capacity and autonomous change are mainly important to focus on. Leadership and resources have a less prominent role, although still relevant. Fair governance criteria should be met by the municipal government in general, so do not specifically apply for heat. Since local adaptation is very context-specific, also for heat the particular relevance of dimensions depend on the specific situation.