Guest editors: John Robinson & Kim Slater (U Toronto)
Abstract submissions closed on 15 DECEMBER 2021
Are cities’ implementation efforts achieving the transformation to realise low-carbon, climate resilient cities? What is the extent and effectiveness of these actions? How can implementation be accelerated?
With their predominantly coastal geographies, rapidly growing populations, and emissions-intensive activities, cities are highly vulnerable, as well as major contributors, to climate change. Fortunately, as “hubs of commerce, culture and innovation” (C40 Cities, 2021), cities are also promising sources of solutions. Taken together, these factors demand a closer examination of the progress and solutions that cities are making to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impacts.
In assessing progress, the focus of research to date has been on the content and quality of plans and strategies (Stevens et al., 2014; Horney et al., 2017), perhaps because they provide an accessible source of information on cities’ climate activities (Otto et al., 2021). There is a growing tendency to align carbon reduction pledges with the Paris Agreements’ recommendations for keeping global heating well below 2 oC, with some cities accelerating their targets (C40, 2019; New Climate Institue, 2019). Furthermore, there is evidence that such targets are increasingly connected to adaptation aims and other societal goals such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with city-level climate action plans increasingly referencing commitments to achieving co-benefits in the realms of human and ecological health, equity, economic well-being and community resilience.
Such pledges and plans are important first steps; however, there is a need for implementation measures (e.g., policies, practices, programs etc.) that demonstrably advance climate mitigation and adaptation goals. As the City of Toronto notes, implementation will “bring about transformational changes in how we live, work, commute, and build.” Such changes will require supportive policies, financial instruments and cooperation at all levels of government and across societal scales, as well as novel technologies, social innovations and practices. Yet research on the extent and effectiveness of cities’ implementation efforts is underdeveloped. In particular, there is a need to better understand if and how cities are rolling out effective implementation measures, what effects (intended and unintended) such measures are having, and ultimately whether their implementation efforts are achieving the transformational changes needed to realize a low-carbon, climate resilient future.
In addition to actively seeking contributions from the research community, we also invite co-authored or joint contributions from members of academic institutions and representatives or staff of local governments to investigate:
It is our hope that collaborating on a submission to this special issue will not only bring multiple perspectives to bear on the nature and degree of local implementation efforts and how to evaluate these, but also spur or enhance a multi-institutional arrangement between local governments and academic bodies that is supportive of climate action – now and in the future.
From Target Setting and Planning to Implementation
Implementation Programs, Projects, Experimentation & Participation
Learning, Experimentation and Assessment
Such questions give rise to a secondary line of inquiry that looks across cities to explore the following dimensions of implementation:
Temporal and Spatial Scales
Social Learning & Evaluation
You are invited to submit an abstract for a journal paper in this special issue of Buildings & Cities. In the first instance, please send a 500 word (maximum) abstract defining the scope, methods and results to editor Richard Lorch firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 DECEMBER 2021
The initial submission needs to include:
Abstracts will be reviewed by the editors to ensure a varied, yet integrated selection of papers around the topic of the special issue. Authors of accepted abstracts will be invited to submit a full paper (6000-7500 words including abstract and references), which will be subject to a double-blind review process.
Deadline for abstract submission 15 December 2021
Full papers due 11 April 2022 (NB: authors can submit sooner if they wish)
Referees' comments July 2022
Final version due October 2022
Special issue publication January 2023 (NB: papers are published as soon as accepted)
Buildings & Cities is an international, open access, double-blind peer-reviewed research journal. Its focus is the interactions between buildings, neighbourhoods and cities by understanding their supporting social, economic and environmental systems. More information including its Aims & Scope and Editorial Board can be found online: www.buildingsandcities.org & published papers are found here: https://journal-buildingscities.org
If you have a question, please contact: John Robinson email@example.com, Kim Slater firstname.lastname@example.org or Richard Lorch email@example.com
C40 Cities Climate leadership Group and ARUP (2019). Deadline 2020. https://www.c40.org/researches/deadline-2020
C40 Cities (2021). C40 Annual Report. https://c40-production-images.s3.amazonaws.com/other_uploads/images/2827_C40_Annual_Report_2020_vMay2021_lightfile.original.pdf?1622806882
Guyadeen, D., Thistlethwaite, J. & Henstra, D. (2019). Evaluating the quality of municipal climate change plans in Canada. Climatic Change, 152, 121–143. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-018-2312-1
Horney, J., Nguyen, M., Salvesen, D., Dwyer, C., Cooper, J., & Berke, P. (2017). Assessing the quality of rural hazard mitigation plans in the southeastern United States. J Plan Educ Res, 37, 56–65. https://doi.org/10.1177/0739456X16628605
New Climate Institute, Data-Driven Lab, PBL, German Development Institute/Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford (2019). Global climate action from cities, regions and businesses: Impact of individual actors and cooperative initiatives on global and national emissions. 2019 edition. Research report prepared by the team of: Takeshi Kuramochi, Swithin Lui, Niklas Höhne, Sybrig Smit, Maria Jose de Villafranca Casas, Frederic Hans, Leonardo Nascimento, Paola Tanguy, Angel Hsu, Amy Weinfurter, Zhi Yi Yeo, Yunsoo Kim, Mia Raghavan, Claire Inciong Krummenacher, Yihao Xie, Mark Roelfsema, Sander Chan, Thomas Hale. https://newclimate.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Report-Global-Climate-Action-from-Cities-Regions-and-Businesses_2019.pdf
Markolf, S., Azevedo, I.M.L., Muro, M., & Victor, D.G. (2020). Pledges and progress: Steps toward greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the 100 largest cities across the United States. Brookings Institute. https://www.brookings.edu/research/pledges-and-progress-steps-toward-greenhouse-gas-emissions-reductions-in-the-100-largest-cities-across-the-united-states/
Otto, A., Kern, K., Haupt, W., Eckersley, P., & Thieken, A.H., (2021) Ranking local climate policy: assessing the mitigation and adaptation activities of 104 German cities. Climatic Change, (167)5. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-021-03142-9
Purcell, B. (2019) TAF’s review of Toronto’s climate emergency declaration, The Atmospheric Fund [blog]. https://taf.ca/review-toronto-climate-emergency-declaration/
Stevens, M.R., & Shoubridge, J. (2015). Municipal hazard mitigation planning: a comparison of plans in British Columbia and the United States. J Environ Plan Manag, 58(11), 1988–2014. https://doi.org/10.1080/09640568.2014.973479
Climate action at the neighbourhood scale: Comparing municipal future scenarios
Y Lu, C Girling, N Martino, J Kim, R Kellett & J Salter
Transformational climate actions by cities [editorial]
K R Slater & J B Robinson
Heat stress: adaptation measures in South African informal settlements
J M Hugo
The urban expansion of Berlin, 1862–1900: Hobrecht’s Plan
Common sources of occupant dissatisfaction with workspace environments in 600 office buildings
T Parkinson, S Schiavon, J Kim & G Betti
Collapse and Catastrophe: The Need to Protect Inhabitants
In light of the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, David Oswald and Trivess Moore (RMIT University) reflect on the rights that inhabitants have for buildings to be safe, healthy, comfortable and robust. However, serial and various failings in the construction supply side and its oversight by governments mean greater accountability is needed.
Blind Spots in Energy Policy
As a policy practitioner who leads a national organisation representing households and small businesses in shaping the future of Australia’s energy system, Lynne Gallagher (Energy Consumers Australia) responds to the Buildings & Cities special issue, Energy, Emerging Technologies and Gender in Homes. Insights from lived experience reveal blind spots in the design, provision and use of smart tech that adversely affect energy outcomes.