Abstract

Climate change is dramatically shifting the way cities interpret and live with their local climate. This paper analyses how climate change is emerging as a matter of concern in the public spheres of Bergen, and interprets how this concern is affecting Bergen’s identity, with implications for the city’s climate risk governance. Historically, Bergen has a strong identity as Europe’s rainiest city, manifested in its cultural and social life. In the past 15 years, Bergen’s identity has been shifting from a ‘weather city’ to a ‘climate city’. This paper draws on ethnographic research, interviews and document analysis to map this shift as co-produced by certain social and natural events and processes; told as narratives of change. This identity shift is creating surprising hybrid representations of climate that are locally meaningful, shaped as much by Bergen’s cultural weatherworld as by incoming ideas of climate change. These representations influence Bergen’s attitudes towards climate risk governance, and may extend influence to global scales via climate city networks. This identity shift also moves the timeframe of risk governance. As a weather city, risks were implicit to the city’s heritage and peoples’ lived experience. But as a climate city, risks are predicted, to foresee and prevent impacts. Critically employing co-production as an analytical lens can help us understand the multiple facets to cities’ climate risk governance, including the role of culture and identity.

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