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Document Abstract
Published: 2013

Urban vulnerability and risk – a key factor for building climate resilient urban development in Indian cities

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India is witnessing rapid growth in the urban centers. Urbanization trend is expected to accelerate in coming decades as well. It is projected that the number of cities with a population of more than 1 million will reach to 75 by 2021 from 53 in 2011. Due to diverse physiographic and meteorological conditions, cities in India are exposed to various types of natural hazards.

This paper examines urban vulnerability and risk to climate change and how this can assist in ensuring climate resilient urban development. Other key messages of the paper are:

  • due to diverse physiographic and meteorological conditions, cities in India are exposed to various types of natural hazards. Indian cities are facing additional risk due to climate induced extreme events such as floods, droughts, heat and cold waves
  • an increasing concentration of population coupled with extreme events, results in high damages to assets, interruptions in business continuity opportunity losses, loss of lives, displacement of populations, which is further enhanced by economic and social vulnerability
  • an observation that similar climate events can produce very different levels of socio-economic impacts, depending not only on the location and timing of the occurrence, but also the resources and agility of the societies to respond to climate impacts

This poses enormous challenge for decision makers at city level and other urban climate resilience practitioners to select a suitable methodology for assessment of hazard risks, vulnerability & capacity assessment and risk analysis of cities to develop “City Level Climate Action Plan” in a given scenario. India has more than 400 cities in 2011 and climate informed development is needed because urbanization in India is accelerating and cities need to be sustainable and resilient. The paper concludes with the following recommendations:

  • Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)
  • rejuvenation of water bodies
  • climate conscious development and spatial planning
  • prioritise a climate resilient agenda
  • sustainable urban development indicators
  • enhance institutional and policy coordination at the city level
  • resource allocation
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