- • Cities and urban areas face a strong adaptation imperative.
- • Collaborative approaches are vital for meeting urban adaptation challenges.
- • Data and knowledge are vital for environmental planning and the governance paradigm shift.
- • Urban planning can support the proactive cross-cutting of urban adaptation policies.
Adapting to climate change is a theme that has become part of international agendas, and cities are increasingly seen as the locus of fundamental action. Part of the difficulty in achieving effectiveness in urban adaptation planning is due to a lack of resources, staff, data, and knowledge, especially in the Global South. This study aims to strengthen decision-makers’ capacity in local governments by identifying which data and knowledge gaps limit the implementation of plans and actions regarding adaptation in Brazil, with a focus on São Paulo. The article is based on environmental governance theory, the social learning process, and planning culture approaches, with the purpose of analyzing the results of an online questionnaire that was administered to government decision-makers/practitioners who are involved in climate change adaptation in São Paulo. In conclusion, a change in the status quo is necessary, based on planning to avoid climate change as well as on the governance process with respect to social learning and justice.