The city of Dar es Salaam, with a population of more than four million, has no climate change adaptation plan. It also has a very large development deficit and lacks adequate provision for infrastructure and services such as piped water, sewers, drains and solid waste collection. Addressing this deficit (and building the institutional and financial capacity to do so) is also important for building resilience to climate change impacts. Eighty per cent of the city’s population lives in informal settlements, but there is little effective land use management and a number of these settlements are on sites that flood regularly. Climate change impacts include sea level rise, rising temperatures and increased occurrence of extreme weather, including rainstorms and droughts, all of which present challenges to city and municipal governments that are struggling to reduce the development deficit. This paper discusses the measures being taken to address this deficit and where and how these measures can be accompanied by improved disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.