Booklet of urban resilience community initiatives in Seville and Barcelona: civil society against the effects of climate change

In recent years, the notion of urban resilience has permeated the responses of Spanish cities to the risks and effects of climate change, either through various municipal adaptation plans and/or the mitigation of climate change, or more general public policies such as development or civil protection plans. But what is urban resilience? The concept of resilience is academically defined as the ability of a system to absorb disturbances and reorganize itself while experiencing a change to retain the essence of its functions, structure, identity and reactions*. In the urban context, and in the face of the climate crisis, this translates into creating cities capable of anticipating, facing and recovering from extreme weather events, such as heat waves or floods, without greatly altering its functionality.

At the same time, citizens are organizing to implement urban resilience initiatives, either fully self-managed, or in collaboration with government institutions through different collaboration and co-management formulas. Many of these community initiatives complement and even fill gaps in institutional action, and often target traditionally forgotten groups that are more sensitive and vulnerable to climate risks, such as homeless people or families at risk of social exclusion.

Knowing what these community initiatives consist of and which entities they promote and collaborate with, as well as understanding their motivations, dynamics, lines of action and achievements, is a crucial task to promote and support inclusive processes that guide the conception and implementation of climate resilience strategies. In a first effort to achieve this objective, this document compiles actions, movements, strategies and proposals of citizen groups from the cities of Seville and Barcelona to deal with three hydro-climatic risks, which can be amplified by climate change: heat waves, floods and droughts.

This booklet is part of the RESCITIES project started in 2019, funded by the State Agency for Research and led by the TURBA research group (Laboratory of Urban Transformations and Global Change) of the Universidad Oberta de Catalunya (UOC). Research staff collaborates in this project from Universidad de Sevilla (US), Universidad Pablo Olavide (UPO), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), and Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC).

Through “snowball” sampling, we start from the initiatives already known by the team in both cities to consult the entities that promote them and identify others. In the case of Barcelona, it is worth mentioning that Col·legi d’Ambientòlegs de Catalunya (COAMB) gave us its support by asking its partners on entities or initiatives that promote resilience in the city. In Seville, we started from a catalogue of social entities made by la Asociación El Enjambre Sin Reina. Once we made the description of the initiatives, the promoting entities received their corresponding texts to review and validate them. We received a response in most cases. On some occasions they provided the images approved for publication. 

You can access the booklet in English, Catalan/Spanish, or Spanish


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