Urban heat adaptation. Understanding the emergence of institutional barriers for heat adapation

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While over the last decade planning for climate change adaption has gained more attention in the Netherlands, climate change adaptation remains predominantly a water issue. Apart from some frontrunner cities, most municipalities are not taking action to address heat stress. This thesis therefore investigates the institutional barriers that impede the mainstreaming of heat adaptation. So far, most studies have focussed on identifying the institutional barriers that impede climate change adaptation. This research, however, takes it one step further, by not only identifying which institutional barriers emerge, but also looking into the underlying causes that explain why they emerge. As literature indicates that mainstreaming climate change adaptation is especially difficult for small- and mid-sized cities in the Netherlands, due to limited human and financial resources, the case study used in this research is Alkmaar. The results show that various institutional barriers emerge that impede heat adaptation. The emergence of these barriers can be attributed to four factors: low perceptions of risk, governance arrangements, path-dependency and a lack of leadership. Simultaneously, in order to understand how barriers emerge attention needs to be given to the relationship between the various barriers as institutional barriers do not arise in isolation but are interlinked.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen