March 3, 2023

Is the resilience of European cities improving? Just published: our new study on assessing the quality of urban adaptation plans

Spello, Italy. Picture by F. Pietrapertosa.

Our study responds to the pressing need of national and local governments to assess the progress of adaptation planning and the quality of plans. In the absence of comparable and globally available indicators on adaptation and its outcomes, the ADAQA index enables practitioners and scholars to assess the quality of adaptation plans and, in particular, to evaluate progress as part of the 2023 Global Stocktake required by the Paris Agreement.

In applying ADAQA to 167 urban adaptation plans across Europe, we found that the overall quality of the plans has improved significantly over the last 15 years and that the consistency between the vulnerabilities identified and the actions taken has increased.

However, most cities still do not focus enough on the impacts and risks to vulnerable groups, nor set out adaptation measures that target these people. Moreover, vulnerable groups are rarely involved in participation processes and the vast majority of plans make no mention of monitoring & evaluation to address their specific needs.

Bilbao, Spain. Picture by Antonio Tejada.

The study has led to the creation of a free, online Climate Change Adaptation Scoring tool which calculates ‘ADAptation plan Quality Assessment’ (ADAQA) indices for individual cities, thereby allowing local climate practitioners to check whether their plans are covering the right topics and to benchmark against others.

The full article is available open access here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s42949-023-00085-1

Citation: Reckien, D., Buzasi, A., Olazabal, M., Spyridaki, N.-A., Eckersley, P., Simoes, S. G., Salvia, M., Pietrapertosa, F., Fokaides, P., Goonesekera, S. M., Tardieu, L., Balzan, M. V., de Boer, C. L., De Gregorio Hurtado, S., Feliu, E., Flamos, A., Foley, A., Geneletti, D., Grafakos, S., … Wejs, A. (2023). Quality of urban climate adaptation plans over time. Npj Urban Sustainability, 3(1), Article 1. https://doi.org/10.1038/s42949-023-00085-1