Cities are increasingly impacted by climate change, driving the need for adaptation and sustainable development. Local and global economic and socio-cultural influence are also driving city redevelopment. This, fundamentally political, development highlights issues of who pays and who gains, who decides and how, and who/what is to be valued. Climate change adaptation has primarily been informed by science, but the adaptation discourse has widened to include the social sciences, subjecting adaptation practices to political analysis and critique. In this article, we critically discuss the just city concept in a climate adaptation context. We develop the just city concept by describing and discussing key theoretical themes in a politically and justice-oriented analysis of climate change adaptation in cities. We illustrate our arguments by looking at recent case studies of climate change adaptation in three very different city contexts: Port Vila, Baltimore City, and Karlstad. We conclude that the social context with its power asymmetries must be given a central position in understanding the distribution of climate risks and vulnerabilities when studying climate change adaptation in cities from a climate justice perspective.
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