Climate change places cities at increasing risk and poses a serious challenge for adaptation. As a response, novel sources of data combined with data-driven logics and advanced spatial modelling techniques have the potential for transformative change in the role of information in urban planning. However, little practical guidance exists on the potential opportunities offered by mobile phone data for enhancing adaptive capacities in urban areas. Building upon a review of spatial studies mobilizing mobile phone data, this paper explores the opportunities offered by such digital information for providing spatially-explicit assessments of urban vulnerability, and shows the ways these can help developing more dynamic strategies and tools for urban planning and disaster risk management. Finally, building upon the limitations of mobile phone data analysis, it discusses the key urban governance challenges that need to be addressed for supporting the emergence of transformative change in current planning frameworks.