Smart City Solutions for Managed Adaptation and Monitoring of Hydro-Meteorological Climate Change Related Risk in Mexico, 2019-2022

  • Maria Soledad Garcia Ferrari (Creator)
  • Milton Montejano-Castillo (Creator)
  • Harry Smith (Creator)
  • Ryan Woolrych (Creator)
  • Amelia Bain (Creator)
  • Meiko Makita (Creator)



The study focused on a pilot case in a vulnerable settlement in Mexico City with high levels of growth in the last two decades, as well as projections of migrations due to climate change. The research tested mechanisms for long-term sustainable processes of risk mitigation through engaging communities and organisations in a constructive ‘dialogue of knowledges’. The pilot case focused on the dwelling level, and engaged with local communities in the development of strategies and tools for monitoring, adaptation and communication. Through testing these strategies and technologies, the research explored how multi-level actors engage with climate change-related risks and the associated governance structures, such as the development of policy and norms, studying the interaction between technical, socio-cultural, economic, political and institutional factors. An upcoming special volume of the Proceedings of the British Academy on 'Urban Resilience and Climate Change in Latin America' will detail some of the aspects of this research. The following methods were used in the selected pilot area: (1) Focus groups with residents in two areas in the neighbourhood exposed to different levels of flooding risk (2) 15 Semi-structured interviews with members of the community, including community leaders; and (3) 12 Semistructured interviews with key stakeholders in the public and third sectors in Mexico City.
The sharp growth of Latin American cities in the last decades has led to an increase of vulnerable communities in informal settlements on land exposed to hazards. These are affected by climate change-related risks such as changes in surface, temperature, droughts, flooding, and more aggressive hurricanes, heightening the need to improve the resilience of such communities. Diseases associated with new atmospheric conditions are some of the consequences, further increasing the displacement of people towards cities. As urban areas expand, current levels of vulnerability, socio-spatial segregation and inequality are aggravated by an increasing demand of housing. In order to reduce disasters it is essential to develop innovative, co-created strategies for managing risk and increase resilience. 'Smart city' approaches offer an integrative perspective, establishing the potential for emerging collaboration between city governments and technology contractors. However, these technological solutions tend to be dependent with top-down ideas, which do not necessarily take into account the needs of, or benefit for people living in poor informal communities. Those challenges that 'smart cities approaches' are faced with reflect a need for context-specific strategies and solutions that respond to the needs of the most vulnerable. Therefore, the aim of this project is to enable city communities to monitor and mitigate climate change-related risks as well as enable communities to develop strategies to adapt to those risks through the co-creation of local, bottom-up initiatives using smart-city solutions. The project will develop an interactive networking smart-technology, enabling city-communities to share best practice on monitoring climate change-related challenges, and to allow them to create solutions that enhance managed adaptation, in close collaboration with local and national institutions, and other relevant stakeholders. The research is structured around three work packages aimed to address the following questions: (i) how do local communities and local institutions perceive and adapt to climate change-related risks and what are the roles of private and public sector organisations in taking adaptive action? (ii) how could a co-created smart-technology help communities to monitor and adapt to these climate change risks? (iii) how can this technology, using community knowledge and experience, help create and influence climate change-related local and national policies? The research will focus on a pilot case study in México City (Penón neighbourhood), where a traditional community is confronting flooding risk challenges. Using focus groups and semi-structured interviews, the research will implement an interactive dialogue between community members, government institutions, as well as NGOs and other stakeholders, including support agencies, and private businesses. This dialogue will result in the development of risk-mitigating strategies and actions, including smart technologies, which will be tested over the project, in order to evaluate pilot experiences and upscale these into a larger city area. Lessons learnt about risk management in Mexico City have the potential to be easily disseminated across the developing world. Communities will be empowered through engaging in identifying, developing and testing strategies for risk-monitoring, mitigation and adaptation. The social, economic and political aspects of impacted communities, as well as an understanding the the physical origins of climate change risks, will contribute to developing resilience and prevent the consequences of exposure to hazards. Finally, considering both the macro-scale and the local scale, understanding that change can emerge in collaboration with local communities and policy makers, the project will provide, along with best community practices, opportunities for interaction and negotiation between actors for increasing resilience and reducing vulnerability.
Date made available2024
PublisherUK Data Service
Date of data production2019 - 2022

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