The main objective of this study was to develop a rapid assessment of vulnerability of cities by highlighting various risk exposures and vulnerability factors. Urban renewal interventions were identified in order to reduce impacts of climate change and natural hazards risk. Twenty Indian cities were considered from fourteen different states. These cities were categorized in terms of population, ecosystems in which they were located such as mountain, coastal, inland and river-based cities ranging from metros, mega cities, and medium sized cities and other characteristics such as commercial, historical, tourism or pilgrimage destinations, capital city etc. The analysis shows that resilient cities were those that have sustainable infrastructure, efficient governance and informed and capable citizens. To carry out 20 case studies has been a huge task, especially when reliable city level data in India are not available. However, despite the data limitations, the conclusions drawn are robust and that more detailed analysis may not change them, drastically.
The key message was that climate change was one more significant stress and to deal with it, cities would have to be healthy and sustainable to begin with. That is, even under normal circumstances, cities need to be fully functioning first. Once that is achieved, resilience would be created, especially where the climate impact may be mild. In others, stronger and specific action, going beyond sustainability would be required, especially for coastal, river based and Himalayan cities.
The study will help policy makers, urban planners, city administrators, experts, academics, students and aid agencies to appreciate issues regarding climate vulnerability of the cities and help them to deal with climate change related stress and formulate adaptation strategies.
This study was supported by the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) and Rockefeller Foundation. The main authors of this study are Dr. Jyoti Parikh, Mr. Priyank Jindal and Ms. Geeta Sandal.