This article examines the adaptive capacities of real estate firms in New York City in light of the increased risks of urban flooding. This exploratory research attempts to shed light on how and why firms of varying risk profiles are strategically adapting to these risks – if at all. Through the lens of a qualitative multi-criteria adaptive capacity framework, the results of six case studies are analyzed to identify what influences are shaping the actions and strategies of firms. The article examines the propositions that: (A) firms with observable strategies have undertaken ex post strategies which are principally driven by the firms’ financial bottom line; (B) firm strategies attribute little to no influence in their decisions to external or delayed costs and/or impacts relating to social and environmental influences; and, (C) firms with the comparatively most robust adaptive capacities will be those who: (i) are most aware of their vulnerabilities; and (ii) are themselves comparatively more vulnerable to the immediate risks associated with urban flooding. While the evidence largely supports the propositions, the results of this research can help shape the development of intelligence and strategic units within firms as they develop a capacity to adapt to ever changing conditions.

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