Towards an Agenda for Profound Urban Climate Resilience in Southeast Asia

  • Matthias GarschagenEmail author
  • Danny Marks
Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


The research findings presented in this volume demonstrate that any meaningful engagement with resilience building in Southeast Asia’s small and mid-sized cities needs to start from a vulnerability perspective if it is to bring about sustainable and equitable risk reduction. Urbanization and other socio economic as well as political transitions in the region have in many instances aggravated rather than mitigated the exposure and susceptibility of residents in these cities to disasters and climate-related shocks. In order to overcome these vulnerability effects, four governance issues need to be addressed. First, the findings show that unequal power relations and perverse incentive structures often shape development and risk-reduction decisions in ways that allocate benefits to elites and emerging middle classes while disproportionately allocating ecological and social costs to the urban poor and marginalized, such as through evictions. Second, local governments often have limited accountability to reduce climate risks of their economically and politically marginalized constituents. Third, incomplete decentralization has resulted in national governments giving the responsibility for climate risk reduction to local governments, but often without sufficient resources. Fourth, the inherent tension in planning policies and politics between the short-term pressures for development and growth, especially in second-tier cities, and the long-term requirements for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation has weakened the implementation of climate risks policies. Therefore, we conclude with a call for future research on urban climate resilience to address these governance challenges.


Urban risk Southeast Asia Resilience Political economy Research agenda 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Management, and Adaptive Planning (VARMAP)Institute for Environment and Human Security, United Nations UniversityBonnGermany
  2. 2.City University of Hong KongKowloon TongHong Kong

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