JoAnn Carmin: helping cities plan for climate change

A recent installment of MIT News "3 Questions"  by Peter Dizekes features DUSP Professor JoAnn Carmin on helping cities plan for climate change.  Visit the MIT News site to read her answers to the following questions:

Because cities hold a growing portion of the world’s population, they are an increasingly important locus of planning for climate change. JoAnn Carmin, an associate professor in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, has surveyed urban leaders worldwide on the subject. Now, in a new report commissioned by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Carmin outlines the strategies city officials — from Tokyo to Boston to Maputo — are employing as they seek more progress. And while some cities have implemented policies, such as home energy-efficiency programs, to limit greenhouse-gas emissions in the first place, her report focuses more on how they are planning for and coping with both existing and projected climate problems. MIT News recently spoke to Carmin, who is also a contributor to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

  1. Q. What are your main findings about the strategies of urban leaders on climate-change adaptation?
  2. Q. Your report underscores a tension: Cities need to find local solutions to a global problem — and often do so for different reasons. In Seattle, the water utility initiated the city’s first climate work, in the 1990s, due to supply concerns. In Copenhagen, flooding in 2010 provided a spur to action. In Semarang, Indonesia, there are major concerns about sea-level rise. These are just a few examples. So to what extent do urban officials now regard climate-change adaptation as something not following a global template, but involving local people, local experiments, and local conditions?
  3. Q. What are your other main recommendations for urban leaders on this issue?