Urban climate adaptation and the reshaping of state–society relations: the politics of community knowledge and mobilisation in Indore, India

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Current research on climate change adaptation in cities highlights the role of local governments in facilitating adaptation actions, but rarely assesses whether (and if so, how) local communities organise around emerging climate priorities to affect political change. This paper explores chang- ing state–society relationships through the reconstitution of community collectives and advocacy organisations for advancing climate change adaptation in the Indian city of Indore. The paper shows that communities are indeed recognising the need for adaptation but are, at the same time, integrating adaptation actions with existing strategies for advocating development rights. Communities are also rebuilding alliances between municipal and local institutions for public ser- vice and infrastructure provision, which point to the centrality of community politics in urban cli- mate adaptation processes. However, such mobilisations are often dependent on existing political networks and a legacy of advocacy around poverty alleviation needs, which sideline more trans- formative agendas around inclusiveness, equity, and resilient urban futures.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1766-1782
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number8
Early online date17 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • climate change adaptation, community knowledge, innovation, state-society relations, urban governance, Urban Planning