The Nordic Africa Institute


The Practice and Politics of Urban Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Efforts at the Margins

Started • 01 January 2018

A warming climate and the increased pace of urbanization across the world are two indisputable facts of the 21st century. The study explores how the urban poor devise strategies and implement solutions to address the effects of climate-related change.

The research project, comprising an interdisciplinary research team engages five different urban settings across Europe, Africa, and North America. Focusing on experiences of urban marginality, the study interrogates how different state approaches to combat climate change interact and impact the self-driven initiatives of urban residents at the margins.

The global commitments outlined by the Paris Accord and the UN Sustainable Development Goals have given these themes new urgency. It is increasingly clear, however, that ostensibly neutral concepts like “sustainable urbanism” obscure issues of power and inequality.

This project questions the meaning of “sustainability” amidst conditions of political and socio-economic precarity. Why? Sustainability as an idea or a complex of infrastructures is often not evenly distributed or equally accessible. Under current regimes of global capitalism and urban development, it is necessary to consider what happens to those who fall outside the scope of interventions made on behalf of sustainable climate-friendly urbanism.

Class and inequality must be foregrounded to capture the full extent of climate change adaptation in cities around the world.

This project is funded by FORMAS.