Adaptation for whom to what? Challenges and opportunities in agriculture-urban collaboration for climate change adaptation

Julia C. Bausch, Hallie Eakin, Amy M. Lerner

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    2 Scopus citations


    As leaders in climate change governance, urban governments have the opportunity to interact, coordinate, and collaborate with different sectors and actors to set and pursue both private and public adaptation goals. Urban and peri-urban agriculture (growing and raising food and non-food products within or at the periphery of an urban area) is recognized as both vulnerable to climate change and as a potential strategy for urban climate adaptation and mitigation. However, few cities have formally incorporated it into their climate change policies. Mexico City is one exception. It’s 2014–2020 Climate Action Plan—El Programa de Acción Climática: Ciudad de México (PACCM)—outlines actions and programs to benefit the city’s peri-urban agrarian communities and farmers. This chapter examines the PACCM to explore the drivers, obstacles, and opportunities of agriculture-urban collaboration for climate change adaptation. We examine: (1) how and why agriculture became part of the PACCM; (2) the stressors and vulnerabilities that the PACCM’s agrarian actions and programs seek to mitigate, for private and/or public benefit; and, (3) the barriers to and opportunities for this collaboration. We analyzed the PACCM programs that target agrarian actors, activities, and lands, and interviewed government officials, PACCM coordinators and authors, agrarian community leaders, and farmers about the Plan’s development and implementation. We found that the PACCM implicitly considers peri-urban agrarian actors as private providers of public adaptation benefits for the city, through measures intended to also benefit agrarian actors. However, the Plan does not articulate how agrarian actors and lands fit into the city’s larger vision for adaptation, nor does it adequately address the specific vulnerabilities and socioeconomic dynamics shaping agrarian actors’ decisions, which may undermine the Plan’s success. The results suggest several guidelines to promote the private provision of public adaptation in the context of social-ecological change. First, governments and private providers must explicitly communicate their needs and expectations for the collaboration so that the needs of both parties can be addressed during policy development. This also requires consideration of the effects of social, economic, and environmental changes on the private providers and beneficiaries. Secondly, to encourage private actors to provide specific public adaptation benefits, governments must develop policy mechanisms that explicitly and directly promote the desired benefits, ideally in collaboration with private providers. Finally, policy processes and outcomes that promote private provisioning of public adaptation benefits warrant close attention to how winners and losers, and synergies and trade-offs are mediated.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationUrban Book Series
    Number of pages26
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

    Publication series

    NameUrban Book Series
    ISSN (Print)2365-757X
    ISSN (Electronic)2365-7588


    • Adaptation
    • Agriculture
    • Cities
    • Climate change
    • Mexico
    • Peri-urban
    • Private provision
    • Public goods

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Urban Studies
    • Geography, Planning and Development


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