How to adapt to climate change in realities of coastal cities? New book gives advice

David C. Major and UEP group leader Sirkku Juhola have published a new open access guidebook with the Helsinki University Press to support climate change adaptation process in coastal cities.

It has become clear that climate change has passed the point in which mitigation would be enough. Adaptation is needed now and in the future – mitigation can only decrease the scale. Coastal cities, for example, are facing increasing climate related risks and challenges. A new guidebook by David C. Major and UEP group leader Sirkku Juhola presents a framework for climate adaptation planning for coastal cities.

The book takes into account the diversity of coastal cities. It offers advice to cities of different size and wealth, although some emphasis is given to cities with less adaptive capacities. This is because a majority of world’s coastal cities and towns currently lack capacities to adapt.

Diversity of actors is also recognised. Unlike many other publications and reports, this guidebook focuses on the central roles of citizens, public officials, and planners. The purpose is aid stakeholders to develop effective adaptation measures in a sustainable way. Within a framework of eight key planning steps, guidance is provided for stakeholders in the adaptation process from initial assessments of climate impacts to final planning. Chapters are closed with “What to Know and Do”-summaries, and real-life case examples are offered throughout the book.

The book covers the current climate situation and climate impacts and related vulnerabilities and aids in their identification. There is also a discussion on climate models and future scenarios, as well as the need to understand the physical, economic, social and other characteristics of coastal cities and towns. The book presents a range of available adaptations, including management, infrastructure, and policy adaptations, and stresses the importance of evaluation of projects and programs in collaboration.

The online version of the book is open access. You can reach the book through the DOI-link below.

Major D. & Juhola S. 2021. Climate Change Adaptation in Coastal Cities: A Guidebook for Citizens, Public Officials and Planners. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press. DOI:

More about the authors:

David C. Major holds a PhD in Economics from Harvard University. He has been a faculty member at MIT and Clark University, and a long-time Senior Research Scientist at Columbia University (now retired). His scientific research focus is the adaptation of coastal cities and towns, large and small, to climate change.

Sirkku Juhola holds a PhD from the University of East Anglia, UK, and has worked in Japan, Sweden, and Finland. She is a Professor at the University of Helsinki, leading the Urban Environmental Policy Group. Her research interests focus on governance and decision-making, climate change policy, and climate risk. She is a member of the Climate Panel of Finland.