Urban areas are already suffering substantial losses in both economic and human terms from climate-related disasters, including flooding. These losses are anticipated to grow substantially in the coming decades, while local planning decisions today will have a large bearing on future costs, for example by locking-in future exposure to flood risk (Kocornik-Mina et al. 2015). As yet it is unclear how climate risk assessment at the global, national and regional levels can support city-level action. Research on flood risk management in Cork city by SEMRU, in collaboration with the London School of Economics, highlights that there are fundamental challenges that can hamper action, despite ever more accurate data and an increasing range of theoretical approaches available to local decision-makers.