Urban adaptation, strategies and projects. The gap between policies and their implementation


  • Guido Emilio Rossi University of Genova




adaptation, urban policies, multiscale, urban resilience, sustainability


The increasing impacts of climate change are pushing cities to take paths towards adaptation and resilience. The adaptation, due to its systemic nature, is multi-scalar: at the urban scale (macro-level) it is implemented through plans and strategies; on the scale of urban and architectural design (meso/micro), these strategies are implemented with concrete interventions. However, the action of some cities perceives a gap between the different levels. Through the analysis of adaptation in the urban areas of Miami and Rotterdam, the article aims to examine the gap that often exists between the strategy and the implementation, and the need for coherence between these that guarantees a real process of urban transformation towards greater resilience stages through systemic approaches.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Metrics Graph

Author Biography

Guido Emilio Rossi, University of Genova

Architect, he is a PhD Student at the Department of Architecture and Design (dAD). He conducts research activities mainly in the context of urban adaptation, and in particular about the impacts related to water management.
E-mail: guido.e.rossi.unige@gmail.com


Broward County Florida, Miami-Dade County, Monroe and Palm Beach Counties (2010), Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact. [Online] Available at: southeastfloridaclimatecompact.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/compact.pdf [Accessed 3rd November 2019].

City of Rotterdam (2013), Rotterdam Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. [Online] Available at: www.urbanisten.nl/wp/wp-content/uploads/UB_RAS_EN_lr.pdf [Accessed 3rd November 2019].

De Graaf, R. and van der Brugge, R. (2010), “Transforming water infrastructure by linking water management and urban renewal in Rotterdam”, in Technological Forecasting and Social Change, vol. 77, issue 8, pp. 1282-1291. [Online] Available at: doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2010.03.011 [Accessed 3rd November 2019].

De Urbanisten (2013), “Water square Benthemplein in Rotterdam, the Netherlands”, in Landscape Architecture Frontiers, vol. 1, issue 4, pp. 136-143. [Online] Available at: journal.hep.com.cn/laf/EN/Y2013/V1/I4/136 [Accessed 3rd November 2019].

De Urbanisten, (2005), Rotterdam Watercity 2035. [Online] Available at: www.urbanisten.nl/wp/?portfolio=watercity-2035 [Accessed 3rd November 2019].

EEA – European Environment Agency (2016), Urban Adaptation to Climate Change in Europe 2016 – Transforming Cities in a Changing Climate, n. 12, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg. [Online] Available at: www.eea.europa.eu/publications/urban-adaptation-2016 [Accessed 3rd November 2019].

European Commission (2013), Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – An EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change, 216 final. [Online] Available at: eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52013DC0216&qid=1572631521797&from=EN [Accessed 3rd November 2019].

Geels, F. W. (2011), “The multi-level perspective on sustainability transitions: Responses to seven criticisms”, in Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, vol. 1, issue 1, pp. 24-40. [Online] Available at: doi.org/10.1016/j.eist.2011.02.002 [Accessed 3rd November 2019].

Gemeente Rotterdam (2008), Rotterdam Climate Proof – The Rotterdam Challenge on Water and Climate Adaptation. [Online] Available at: www.kennisvoorklimaat.nl/gfx_content/documents/regio%20rotterdam/ algemeen/Brochure%20Rotterdam%20Climate%20Proof%20The%20Rotterdam %20Challenge%20on%20Water%20and%20Climate%20Adaptation.pdf [Accessed 3rd November 2019].

Grimm, N. B., Faeth, S. H., Golubiewski, N. E., Redman, C. L., Wu, J., Bai, X. and Briggs, J. M. (2008), “Global Change and the Ecology of Cities”, in Science, vol. 319, issue 5864, pp. 756-760. [Online] Available at: science.sciencemag.org/content/319/5864/756 [Accessed 3rd November 2019].

IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2015), Climate change 2014 – Synthesis report. [Online] Available at: www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/05/SYR_AR5_FINAL_full_wcover.pdf [Accessed 3rd November 2019].

Miami-Dade County (2015), Adaptation Action Areas – Feasibility Assessment. [Online] Available at: www.miamidade.gov/green/library/sea-level-rise-adaptation-action-areas.pdf [Accessed 3rd November 2019].

Miami-Dade County (2010a), GreenPrint – Our Design for a Sustainable Future. [Online] Available at: www.miamidade.gov/greenprint/pdf/plan.pdf [Accessed 3rd November 2019].

Miami-Dade County (2010b), Climate Change Action Plan. [Online] Available at: www.miamidade.gov/greenprint/pdf/climate_action_plan.pdf [Accessed 3rd November 2019].

Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment and Ministry of Economic Affairs (2015), National Water Plan 2016-2021, The Netherlands. [Online] Available at: www.government.nl/documents/policy-notes/2015/12/14/national-water-plan-2016-2021 [Accessed 3rd November 2019].

Municipality of Rotterdam et alii (2007), WaterPlan 2 Rotterdam – Working on Water for an Attractive City. [Online] Available at: www.rotterdam.nl/wonen-leven/waterplan-2/Waterplan-2-samenvatting-Engels.pdf [Accessed 3rd November 2019].

Nicholls, R. J., Hanson, S., Herweijer, C., Patmore, N., Hallegatte, S., Corfee-Morlot, J., Chateau, J. and Muir-Wood, R. (2007), Ranking of the world’s cities most exposed to coastal flooding today and in the future – Executive Summary, OECD – Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. [Online] Available at: climate-adapt.eea.europa.eu/metadata/publications/ranking-of-the-worlds-cities-to-coastal-flooding/11240357 [Accessed 3rd November 2019].

Portes, A. and Armony, A. C. (2018), The Global Edge – Miami in the Twenty-First Century, University of California Press, Berkeley (USA).

Rotterdam Duurzaam (2007), Rotterdam Climate Initiative. [Online] Available at: www.rotterdamduurzaam.nl/organisaties/rotterdam-climate-initiative [Accessed 3rd November 2019].

Stead, D. (2014), “Urban Planning, water management and climate change strategies: adaptation, mitigation and resilience narratives in the Netherlands”, in International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, vol. 21, issue 1, pp. 15-27. [Online] Available at: www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13504509.2013.824928 [Accessed 3rd November 2019].

The City of Miami Beach (2019), Our Future in Focus – Strategic Plan – Through the Lens of Resilience. [Online] Available at: www.mbrisingabove.com/wp-content/uploads/Miami-Beach-Strategic-Plan-2019-For-Web-8.5.pdf [Accessed 3rd November 2019].

Tillie, N. (2018), Synergetic Urban Landscape Planning in Rotterdam – Liveable Low-Carbon Cities, A+BE | Architecture and the Built Environment [S.I.], n. 24. [Online] Available at: journals.open.tudelft.nl/index.php/abe/article/view/2604 [Accessed 3rd November 2019].

ULI – Urban Land Institute (2018), Miami Beach Florida – Stormwater Management and Climate Adaptation Review, April 16-19 2018, Urban Land Institute, Washington. [Online] Available at: americas.uli.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/ULI-Documents/Miami-Beach_PanelReport_hi-res.pdf [Accessed 3rd November 2019].

van Veelen, P. C. (2016), Adaptive planning for resilient coastal waterfronts – Linking flood risk reduction with urban development in Rotterdam and New York City, Architecture and Built Environment, Delft. [Online] Available at: pdfs.semanticscholar.org/aebf/21d0c17cd984817668be99d7ac6da9ac1488.pdf [Accessed 3rd November 2019].

Arkup studio, Floating Home, Miami Beach (credit: G. E. Rossi). AGATHÒN 06 | 2019




How to Cite

Rossi, G. E. (2019) “Urban adaptation, strategies and projects. The gap between policies and their implementation”, AGATHÓN | International Journal of Architecture, Art and Design, 6(online), pp. 46–57. doi: 10.19229/2464-9309/652019.



Architecture | Essays & Viewpoint