Climate Governance in Metro Regions


This article reviews emerging approaches to climate change governance in cities and metropolitan regions. Targeting both climate mitigation and adaptation practices, it argues that that governing climate change is fundamentally an urban issue. Climate change affects metropolitan regions not simply as a recent biophysical climatic condition but as a set of historically produced (social and political) vulnerabilities. Whilst climate change in the city is both unevenly produced and has a set of uneven manifestations, urban space operates as a privileged site for imagining and developing climate solutions. The article examines three types of urban responses to climate change (networks, partnerships, and innovation and experimentation), and concludes with a reflection on why and how metropolitan climate responses are a matter of climate justice: Enabling and developing urban policies and innovations that more adequately address issues of social and environmental justice in this realm is one of the key challenges of metropolitan climate governance.


Harriet Bulkeley is Professor in the Department of Geography at Durham University where her research is concerned with environmental governance. She currently holds an ESRC Climate Change Leadership Fellowship, titled Urban Transitions: Climate Change, Global Cities and the Transformation of Socio-technical Systems, through which she is developing this work. She is author of the recent report commissioned by the World Bank, Cities and Climate Change: The Role of Institutions, Governance and Urban Planning. Bulkeley leads the Leverhulme Transnational Climate Change Governance research network and through her Philip Leverhulme Prize is examining the politics of climate change emerging beyond the nation-state in the UK. Harriet is an editor of Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy and Domain Editor of Policy and Governance for Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews Climate Change.

Andrés Luque-Ayala is Lecturer in the Department of Geography at Durham University. His research revolves around three interrelated topics and their implications for cities, particularly in the Global South: the development of a critical geography of energy; a socio-technical examination of “smart” forms of urbanization and the coupling of digital and material infrastructures as a new security apparatus in the city; and a critical evaluation of urban responses to climate change and the disruption of the relationship between climate mitigation and adaptation in cities. Luque-Ayala has over 12 years of practitioner experience in the interface between urban infrastructures and environmental issues. Currently he coordinates the ESRC-funded International Network on Comparative Urban Low Carbon Transitions (INCUT), a global network of researchers examining how cities around the world are responding to climate change. He is also a co-investigator for the RCUK-CONFAP International Network (UK-Brazil)’s Augmented Urbanity and Smart Technologies project.