A historical approach to understanding governance of extreme urban heat in Fukuoka, Japan

Mabon, Leslie (2021). A historical approach to understanding governance of extreme urban heat in Fukuoka, Japan. Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, 30(1) pp. 5–21.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/DPM-01-2020-0010


The purpose of this paper is to contribute to emergent understandings in research into urban climate change-related disasters (such as extreme heat), which recognise that present-day actions or failures of cities to address climate risk are rooted in a historical context.

The paper analyses content of scientific journals produced by the not-for-profit Kyushu Environmental Evaluation Association in Fukuoka since the 1970s. The aim is to evaluate the shifting understanding and conception of a liveable urban environment within Fukuoka over time and assess how this narrative has informed capability to understand and manage extreme heat as an emergent disaster risk.

The strong technical competences enabling Fukuoka to undertake evidence-based management of risks from climate-related disasters today exist at least partially because of earlier environmental concerns within the city and an early emergence of techno-scientific competence within the city's research institutions working at the science–policy interface.

The findings suggest a need to avoid uncritically exporting “lessons” from apparent urban climate “success stories”, without full recognition of the historical context enabling production and utilisation of weather and climate knowledge in specific locations.

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