Although climate change is a global emergency, coastal cities in the Global South are among the most vulnerable. Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu in India, for instance, was hit by a tsunami in 2004 and regularly faces flooding and water scarcity. With the aim of climate change adaptation, the Greater Chennai Corporation is thus implementing urban eco-restoration projects that include the resettlement of slum-dwellers to the outskirts of the city. One of those resettlement sites, that was built on flood-prone marshlands, is Kannagi Nagar, the research site of this study. Also, its residents are exposed to risks of flooding and suffer heavily from the city-wide water scarcity, both circumstances that will be further intensified by climate change. To understand how to deal with those challenges, this study analyses the roles of Community Resilience and Risk Appraisal of households in Kannagi Nagar towards adaptation behaviour in regard to flooding and water scarcity. This is done by applying socio-cognitive theories and analysing the situation of the residents in the resettlement colony with a mixed method approach of a household survey and additional in-depth interviews. The results prove that Community Resilience, with its five parameters social network, social support, trust, place attachment and Collective Efficacy, has a significant positive influence on adaptation actions towards water scarcity and flooding in Kannagi Nagar. Additionally, it is substantiated that while Risk Appraisal has no direct effect, it is a positive moderator on the relationship between Community Resilience and adaptation behaviour. This shows that only when the inhabitants have supportive backing from their network and feel confident about the community’s capabilities, a higher awareness of the risk can further increase the number of adaptation measures taken. Thus, to enable people to take adaptive action, merely proclaiming the threat of climate change is insufficient. Rather, the focus should be put on (re-)building resilient, trusting communities, who are well connected, able to help themselves and believe in their power to make a difference. For future-oriented urban policies for resettlement schemes and climate change communication these results imply the need to place more weight on implementing community-building initiatives to enhance the citizen’s adaptive capacity in times of a climate crisis. Keywords: Community Resilience, Risk Appraisal, Climate Change Adaptation, Resettlement, India

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Gianoli, A. Alberto
Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies

Haas, S. Sarah. (2019, September). The roles of community resilience and risk appraisal in climate change adaptation. A case study of resettled communities in Chennai, India. Retrieved from