This contribution provides theoretical and operational hints for reframing current approach and tools to counterbalance climate change, aiming to better guide planners and decision makers in building up effective climate sensitive urban development processes.
To achieve this goal, we will firstly explore commonalities and peculiarities of three Urban Metaphors - Smart City, Resilient City and Transition Towns – that are gaining an increasing attention by planners and decision-makers, to better understand their roles in supporting climate strategies, their potential synergies and conflicting aspects, and above all their potential in promoting integrated approaches to climate issues.
Then, based on a comparison among different case studies within and outside Europe, we will highlight strengths and weaknesses of current institutional-led initiatives as well as ‘transition’ practices (community-led) addressed to deal with climate change at local scale. In detail, strengths and weaknesses of current practices will be presented according to different research questions: if and how the three considered urban metaphors (Smart City, Resilient City, Transition Towns) effectively frame current practices; current level of integration among mitigation and adaptation practices; mainstreaming of mitigation and adaptation practices into urban planning processes; emerging governance models and, above all, factors currently hindering the paths towards effective climate policies in cities.
Finally, based on the lessons learnt from both theoretical debate and current practices, some key principles to reframe current approaches to climate issues and to overcome barriers and criticalities hindering effectiveness of current strategies and measures, will be provided. These key principles will be mainly addressed to promote cross-sectorial strategies and measures to counterbalance climate change; to enhance the capacity to take into account synergies and trade-offs between mitigation and adaptation strategies and measures; and to promote the mutual capacitation and contamination among different actors and stakeholders.