Place-based action for more equitable climate resilience

Hybrid session  
Online session  
Physical session  

19 October 11:15 - 12:45

Equitable access to environmental goods and fair distribution of burdens, along with democratic participation in urban development, increase a city’s ability to adapt to climate change, making social justice a key part of urban climate adaptation. However, current policy and practice within European cities do not address social, spatial and procedural inequalities  adequately.Integrating social justice into urban climate policy demands not only spatially-explicit mapping of existing differences among groups, and identification of specific, socially-driven vulnerabilities and disadvantages in urban communities, but also the engagement and empowerment of diverse groups for greater involvement in decision-making.

In addition, Covid-19 has cast the spotlight on the uneven distribution of vulnerability, making existing inequalities in people’s exposure (e.g. among frontline workers, often poorly-paid) and coping capacity (e.g. availability of sufficient living space in homes and green space nearby) visible and exacerbating them. The impacts of corresponding policy measures, including school closures and mobility restrictions, have also generated uneven impacts - with women (especially mothers) typically shouldering more responsibility for care, and rollbacks of public transport services burdening primarily those without the freedom to work from home or travel another way. At the same time, many cities have responded with short-term transformations to meet changing needs, e.g. pop-up bike paths, or new uses of public spaces.  

This session sets out to understand what can be learnt from policies and initiatives that have emerged due to Covid-19, and which of these might be secured for the longer term, as part of a transformation towards socially-just resilience.

Guiding questions

  1. What did move your city to undertake measures for enhancing social justice?
  2. How are these measures related to climate impacts and adaptation actions and policies?
  3. Which elements do you recommend to include in policies enhancing just resilience?


Ruth Wolstenholme

Managing Director, Sniffer

Ruth Wolstenholme, Managing Director, Sniffer

Ruth is Managing Director of Sniffer, a Scottish charity working for a fairer and flourishing future in a changing climate. Ruth has led the charity for over 25 years, working across the boundaries of different sectors and policy interests. She believes that a collaborative approach to understanding and responding to environmental change has the greatest benefit for people and places. She has been instrumental in the formation and delivery of the Adaptation Scotland Programme and Climate Ready Clyde. As well as building on a scientific and policy evidence base, she has interest in the role of cultural practice in changemaking.

Iva Bedenko

Strategic Planning and Development, City of Zagreb

Iva Bedenko, Strategic Planning and Development, city of zagreb

MA from the Zagreb School of Architecture in 1998. Worked at architectural design offices from 1995 to 2001. Currently working in Zagreb City government and as secretary of Europan Croatia. Worked on implementation of many EU-funded projects including currently running proGIreg, which focuses on implementing nature based solutions in post-industrial city areas, and as part of the team that produced the City of Zagreb Master Plan 2000+, and the Strategies of development of the City of Zagreb and Zagreb Urban Agglomeration. Speaks fluent English and good French.

Matija Vuger

Strategic Planning and Development, City of Zagreb

Matija Vuger, Strategic Planning and Development, CITY OF ZAGREB

Matija Vuger works on implementation of projects which are of city development interest. He was local coordinator for many projects funded by various EU programme in the field of sustainable mobility, strategic urban development, natural based solutions, green infrastructure, inter-institutional cooperation and participation of citizens including currently running proGIreg, which focuses on implementing nature-based solutions in post-industrial city areas.

Maria Sitzoglou

Architect – Urban Designer, Participatory Planning Expert

Maria Sitzoglou, Architect – Urban Designer, Participatory Planning Expert

Maria Sitzoglou is the co-founder of Design Clips, Architect & Urban Designer with expertise in resilient urban planning, stakeholder engagement, participatory strategies. She has extensive experience in city-scale projects with a portfolio ranging from policy design to hands-on community projects. She has worked as a Deputy CRO for Thessaloniki, Greece within the frame of the 100 Resilient Cities network and currently as a European Commission Urban Expert for the Urban Innovative Action(UIA) -  OASIS Schoolyards project, Paris, France, Expert to support the UIA capitalisation activity “Just Transitions” and Short term Consultant for Inclusive and Resilient Urban Planning for the World Bank. Furthermore, she is involved in large scale projects.


Margaretha Breil

Senior Researcher on urban sustainability and climate change adaptation, CMCC

Margaretha Breil, Senior Researcher on urban sustainability and climate change adaptation, CMCC

CMCC is a network of Italian climate change research. It supports, interalia, the EEA with scientific advice on climate change and adaptation. Within CMCC, Margaretha focusses on the assessment and design of sustainable urban adaptation policies. As a member of the European Topic Centre for Climate Change adaptation, she is supporting the EEA, providing input for activities with regards to urban adaptation, including the redaction of the EEA reports on urban adaptation, work on NBS and on sustainability of climate change adaptation in cities, further to support to the organization of the Urban Resilience forum. Between 2019 and 2021, she has coordinated the INTERREG Italy-Croatia Project ADRIADAPT.