Municipal climate adaptation despite tight budgets

kleines Dorf auf dem Land

The already palpable impacts of climate change pose new challenges for municipalities. Even if the emission of greenhouse gases is to be significantly reduced in the coming years, it remains essential to adapt to the changes to the climate that have already been set into motion. Alongside the challenge of climate change, cities and local authorities are faced with further challenges, including the results of demographic changes. Indeed, a large number of initiatives have been carried out at the federal level in Germany in recent years. However, these have mostly failed to sufficiently address the problem of financial, organisational, and staffing capacities at the municipal level.

In order to make adaptation possible for local authorities with limited financial means, it is necessary to gain a better understanding of how adaptation measures could be integrated into existing municipal activities. As part of the project “Scope for action by smaller and/or financially weaker municipalities toward the establishment of strategies and the implementation of climate change adaptation measures”, adelphi is analysing how strategies and measures particular to the municipal policy fields of land use and housing and infrastructure development can be so designed and implemented as to simultaneously support each other, while remaining affordable and reasonably achievable. The action recommendations generated by this analysis should primarily serve actors engaged in municipal planning.

A focal point of adelphi’s tasks lies in the analysis of three municipal cases of successful adaptation despite tight budgets. These case studies are being compiled via the inclusion of relevant local actors and an analysis and appraisal of the instruments applied in each case. As one result of the project, adelphi is developing complementary action strategies in pursuit of climatically and demographically hardy land use and housing and infrastructure development. These approaches are being discussed as part of a workshop involving municipal planning practitioners and academic and research specialists.