Theory of Change (ToC)

Tool description

Theory of Change (ToC) is a conceptual framework that outlines the causal pathways through which interventions are expected to bring about desired outcomes.

The tool provides materials and guidelines for collaborative work in constructing a ToC based on a shared vision, considering the views of different stakeholders. It guides participants in understanding current conditions, strategically planning activities, and identifying outputs and outcomes. The tool promotes inclusivity, ownership, and commitment among stakeholders, ensuring a logical and measurable framework that accommodates flexibility and iteration. Ultimately, it supports the documentation and communication of the developed theory of change.



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Complexity explanation

It can be implemented by cities on their own with local knowledge and some knowledge of climate risks. However, developing a ToC for complex systems can be challenging, especially when stakeholders have limited experience or knowledge on the context.

Benefits of using the tool

The main benefit of the tool is that it helps to identify solutions to effectively address the causes of problems that hinder progress and guide decisions on which approach should be taken.

Furthermore, creating a shared vision within a ToC, fosters alignment and collaboration among stakeholders, enhancing the effectiveness of adaptation planning by ensuring collective understanding and commitment to common goals.

City Hub experiences

Not yet applied.


Triple-A phases

The tool can be used in the following Triple-A phases:

  • Ambition: It allows to define ambitious and aspirational vision and goals for the future. Often this involves creating a clear narrative about the desired future state.
  • Action: It provides a structured framework to articulate this narrative about the future, breaking down the vision into actionable steps (actions).


Not available yet


Saioa Zorita,


More information at

For more information about this tool see the publicly available D6.3 report.

Click here to access the User´s guide ToC, Navigating transformation towards a desired vision


The tool is complementary to other REACHOUT analysis tools (e.g. Climate Impact Diagrams, Thermal Assessment Tool) as it helps to understand the problems and challenges that a city faces. It is also complementary to REACHOUT action tools (e.g. Adaptation libraries) that identify possible activities to reach the change.

The climate story of Gdynia​

Short summary: A story about Jan and Maria during extreme precipitation.

Theme: Flooding

End user: Citizens

Link to the story: under construction