Normative future visioning for city resilience and development

Mark Pelling, Thaisa Comelli, Marco Cordova, Sibel Kalaycioğlu, Jonathan Menoscal, Rachana Upadhyaya & Matthias Garschagen
Taylor & Francis
Academic publication
June 2023

This paper argues for normative visioning as an underdeveloped component of adaptation planning.
Multi-stakeholder and normative approaches to future visioning offer generative moments when
creativity can meet the power to act required for critical, including transformative, adaptation.
Including normative methods with community and city actors in adaptation planning allows for
alternative narratives of development to arise as a basis for deeper conversation and potential action
on the root causes of vulnerability and risk. A specific visioning approach is tested for four megacities
– Istanbul, Kathmandu, Nairobi and Quito. Relations between current and future states of
development and resilience are found to be both aligned (congruent or contingent) and in opposition
(countervailing or constrained) shaping strategy for policy setting. These data are combined with
additional work from London, Kolkata, New York and Lagos to pilot a City Resilience Challenge Index
(CRCI), indicating to policy-makers whether and how cities are currently moving away from, rather
than towards, envisioned trajectories of vulnerability reduction and adaptation. In the future, the CRCI
might provide a global tool to track the progress of cities towards climate resilient development and,
by doing so, to increase ambition and galvanize action.