According to the United Nations (2017) “Already in 2014, 30 per cent of the urban population lived in slum-like conditions“. Those living in informal settlements face significant threats to their livelihoods due in part to climate change related extreme events such as drought, and flooding. These individuals’ vulnerability to climate related extreme events is exacerbated by other risk factors such as insecure land tenure, poor housing, precarious settlement locations and little to no access to government services. In all cases the services that are provided are inadequate, leading individuals and communities to help themselves.Given the self-help nature of these environments, our project utilized action research to explore examples of citizen-led community infrastructure projects in urban informal settlements in Manila, the Philippines. Our research illustrates how, through self-initiated upgrading efforts, communities are defining for themselves and taking action in support of “climate resilience”. Given continuing socio-economic vulnerabilities, a key challenge is to find the ways and means of linking informal self-help actions to formal policy and programs in support of sustainable, resilient and inclusive urban spaces.