The Emergence of Polycentricity in Urban climate Governance: Lessons from Cities in India


  • Anita Yadav TERI School of Advanced Studies, India
  • Manish Shrivastava TERI School of Advanced Studies, India
  • Naqui Anwer TERI School of Advanced Studies, India


Polycentric governance, Urban Governance, Climate Change, Subnational actors


Climate change and urbanization challenges have empowered Indian cities to shift from a top-down hierarchical governance approach to becoming sites of climate leadership and experimentation. Polycentric governance, with its decentralized, networked, and participatory nature, has gained traction in urban governance in India. Cities in India have developed climate action plans, integrated adaptation, mitigation, and resilience, while also joining global climate alliances to commit to targets, report progress, and foster collaborations. This paper argues that Polycentricism can help build capacity for urban climate governance by involving a diverse range of stakeholders in decision making process. How can elements of polycentricity in urban climate governance facilitate experimentation and innovation, and help in developing networks to build knowledge and skills? Can Polycentric approach to governance enable cities to respond quickly to changing circumstances by allowing flexible and responsive decision-making. This paper aims to explore these key questions using explorative and descriptive research methods, focusing on climate policies in two Indian cities, Indore, and Ahmedabad. While the concept of polycentric governance in Indian cities is relatively new, it presents significant potential in promoting sustainable urban development and enhancing city resilience in response to climate change.


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