Urban Adaptation

In an era of accelerating climate disruption, the ways that people live in cities are changing in real time and urban planning must grapple with this emerging and transforming reality. While reducing emissions, or mitigation, remains as important as ever, adaptation, or finding ways for people and cities to live with climate impacts, is now imperative. This seminar on urban adaptation is comprised of two complementary parts: 1. It will provide students a foundation in the field through readings and discussion of major topics and 2. It will provide students the opportunity to engage with an urgent emerging problem in adaptation and deliver planning guidance to a real-world client. As climate impacts become more pervasive, climate anxiety, or well-founded unease about the future has also become rampant. As a point of departure, the course will begin with works from the arts and humanities on hope and envisioning positive future alternatives. This will provide a grounding to delve into topics including equity and justice, regional collaboration, migration, limits to adaptation, the adaptation/mitigation nexus, and transformational adaptation. Students will put these concepts into practice through a project for the Climigration Network exploring, analyzing, and proposing models for shared governance between learned and lived experts and for directing resources to frontline communities. Shared governance is a growing approach to practice among institutions and organizations committed to pursuing transformational adaptation. Through the two complementary parts of the course, students will have an opportunity to be at the cutting-edge of practice while engaging thoughtfully with the full complexity of underlying adaptation challenges.