Adaptation planning is not progressing evenly across the world. In urban areas, for example, plans are concentrated in richer and larger cities (with more resources) and, even there, implementation of actions is lagging. Evidence also shows that technical knowledge produced through risks and vulnerability assessments is not generally used in decision-making around adaptation. Why is this happening? And, is this knowledge enough to move urban adaptation beyond its current impasse?
In a new collaborative paper led by Marta Olazabal and published in One Earth, the authors argue that historically marginalized and subaltern forms of local knowledge must be considered in combination with technocratic top-down approaches to climate knowledge production. The authors identify approaches for combining multiple knowledge systems and key areas within decision-making processes where the inclusion of subaltern knowledge can broaden the adaptation solution space in cities. This new piece in One Earth highlights the role of subaltern knowledge as a source of innovation that can help to boost local adaptation by enhancing both the effectiveness and social legitimacy of actions.