Bridging the Gap Between Healthy Cities and Climate Adaptation Governance - Barriers and Opportunities of Integrated Policymaking in European Municipalities
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The debate about healthy cities is facing new challenges in recent years due to the increasing effects of climate change on public health. This is especially the case in cities where the urban heat island effect is reinforcing heat stress on people. Most cities in Europe are therefore developing policies that aim at adapting to those effects to make sure urban areas remain places of good liveability. As good public health and wellbeing is an important part of the liveability of cities, health experts and the World Health Organization have come up with an approach that aims at integrating their needs into local policies of other sectors. This health in all policies approach is important for the development of climate adaptation strategies as it presents a possibility to tackle wicked problems like the health effects of climate change in a very broad and holistic approach. While previous research and practices have mostly dealt with climate change and public health separately, integrated policies can make a contribution to a more sustainable way of policymaking by combining the two topics. Spatial planners can play an important role in this debate due to their long-standing tradition in interdisciplinary working and finding integrated solutions. The aim of this work is therefore to bridge the gap between the healthy cities debate and urban climate adaptation by looking at integrated policymaking from a planning perspective. This comparative case study takes a look at the three European cities Cork, Utrecht and Kuopio and their local actions towards integrated policymaking. While focusing on local actions, the wider multilevel governance background that the cities are embedded in will also be considered. Empirical research will be done by applying a framework that consists of five governance dimensions that are of importance for the integration of health issues into local climate adaptation policies. Furthermore, an already existing model by Storm et al. (2014) will be used to measure the maturity of the health in all policies approach in the three case study cities. This maturity model can help to identify barriers that cities are facing in integrated policymaking but also enables to detect opportunities that can be of use for other cities that want to develop integrated policies themselves. An empirical data collection consisting of policy papers and interviews with policymakers from the field of public health and climate adaptation will be used for evaluation with the developed conceptual framework. The findings show that at this point all three cities are at very different points of developing integrated policies. A lack of awareness for the topic, financial issues, unclear distribution of responsibilities and a lack of political support are identified as the most common barriers that cities are facing. On the other hand, a broad definition of health, intersectoral working groups and the use of informal networks can offer some great opportunities for integrated policymaking. This work concludes that more research with an integrated perspective is necessary and furthermore claims for a better knowledge exchange at international level.