Tag Archives: climate change

Viewpoints: Rapid urban growth in mountainous regions: The case of Nainital, India

Prakash C. Tiwari
Kumaon University, India

Bhagwati Joshi
Government Post Graduate College, India

shutterstock_362847104 (1)Mountain ecosystems, particularly in developing and underdeveloped regions, are experiencing rapid, unplanned and unregulated urban-growth. Recently, less accessible areas of the Himalaya region in India have begun to urbanize due to the extension of the road network, growth in tourism, and economic globalization. The sprawling urban growth in these fragile mountains and the resultant land use intensification have disrupted the hydrological systems of urban areas, and have consequently increased the susceptibility of anthropogenically-modified slopes to recurrent slope failures, landslides, and flash floods. Moreover, climate change has stressed urban ecosystems by increasing the frequency, severity, and intensity of extreme weather events. Continue reading

Viewpoints: Setting priorities in a new era for climate adaptation

Meghan Doherty
Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN), USA

climate change adaptationIt’s a new era for climate adaptation: Four out of the five most concerning global risks for the next 10 years are directly linked to the need to adapt to the changing climate (World Economic Forum, 2016). Though these are global problems often discussed at the national scale, urban areas are increasingly seen as having a critical role in the adaptation agenda. The 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) highlighted the need to establish a global goal on adaptation of “enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change.” In addition, the agreement calls out cities as relevant actors by acknowledging the need for non-Party stakeholders “to address and respond to climate change” (UNFCCC, 2015).

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Viewpoints: Top Ten Most Viewed Articles of 2015

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  1. Dana Boyer, Stefanie Brodie, Joshua Sperling, Eleanor Stokes & Alisa Zomer | Implementing the Urban Sustainable Development Goal in Atlanta and Delhi
  2. Federico Caprotti | Building the smart city: Moving beyond the critiques 
  3. Alexander Aylett | Green cities and smart cities: The potential and pitfalls of digitally-enabled green urbanism
  4. Chiara Certoma and Francesco Rizzi | Smart cities for smart citizens: Enabling urban transitions through crowdsourcing
  5. Patricia Romero-Lankao and Daniel Gnatz | Do cities have the institutional capacity to address climate change?
  6. Harini Nagendra | Ecologically-smart cities: Keeping urban ecosystems centre stage in India’s Smart Cities programme
  7. Emma Arnold and Karen O’Brien | The Art of Urban Transformations
  8. Olivia Bina and Andrea Ricci | Building scenarios for sustainable urbanisation: Balancing ‘can’, ‘need’ & ‘want’ 
  9. Andres Luque-Ayala | Urbanization and global environmental change: A matter of politics?
  10. Tracey Holloway | What’s next for air quality in the United States?

A huge thank you to our generous authors and dedicated readers!

Call for Applicants: Workshop on Climate, Migration & Health in Latin America

Climate, Migration & Health in Latin America: Connections through Urbanization
University of Colorado Population Center
Boulder, Colorado, USA
May 26-27, 2016

Lori Hunter and Fernando Riosmena – University of Colorado-Boulder, USA
Patricia Romero-Lankao – National Center for Atmospheric Research, USA

With support from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, the Institute of Behavioral Science and University of Colorado Population Center are hosting the 2nd annual workshop on Climate, Migration and Health.  This year’s sub-theme is “Connections through Urbanization” with a geographic focus on Latin America.

The two-day workshop, held in Boulder, Colorado, USA and will bring together approximately ten researchers and policy communicators to showcase innovative research on urbanization, climate and health.

Workshop applicants must have a current research project in Latin America and should aim to come to the workshop to present ongoing work.  We will also spend time brainstorming broader knowledge gaps and specific research projects or proposals designed to fill those gaps.

Researchers from social and natural sciences are encouraged to apply.  Funds are available for partial reimbursement for domestic travel and lodging. Applicants must be post-PhD. The aim is for an interdisciplinary mix of junior and senior scholars.

To be considered for this workshop, please send a CV and a complete paper, working draft, or an extended abstract (including data description, methods, and preliminary results) by February 19, 2016.  Decisions will be made by March 11th.

Please address questions to Lori.Hunter@colorado.edu.
Please submit application materials to Cheryl.Graham@colorado.edu.

New Paper on a Conceptual Framework for Urbanization Climate Change Typology

Title: A conceptual framework for an urban areas typology to integrate climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Authors: William Solecki, Karen C. Seto, Deborah Balk, Anthony Bigio, Christopher G. Boone, Felix Creutzig, Michail Fragkias, Shuaib Lwasa, Peter Marcotullio, Patricia Romero-Lankao & Timm Zwickel.

Urban areas are key sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and also are vulnerable to climate change. The recent IPCC Fifth Assessment Report illustrates a clear need for more research on urban strategies for climate change adaptation and mitigation. However, missing from the current literature on climate change and urban areas is a conceptual framework that integrates mitigation and adaptation perspectives and strategies. Because cities vary with respect to development histories, economic structure, urban form, institutional and financial capacities among other factors, it is critical to develop a framework that permits cross-city comparisons beyond simple single measures like population size.

The primary purpose of this paper is to propose a conceptual framework for a multi-dimensional urbanization climate change typology that considers the underlying and proximate causes of GHG emissions and climate change vulnerabilities. The paper reviews some of the basic steps required to build such a typology and associated challenges that must be overcome via a demonstration of a pilot typology with nine case study cities. The paper shows how the proposed framework can be used to evaluate and compare the conditions of GHG emissions and climate change vulnerability across cities at different phases in the urbanization process.

Urbanization; Typology; Climate change; GHG emissions; Vulnerability

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Implementing the Urban SDG in Atlanta and Delhi


Left to right: United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 11; Delhi train (Joshua Sperling); Atlanta skyline (Stefanie Brodie).

Our second article this week was written by Dana Boyer (University of Minnesota), Stefanie Brodie (Georgia Tech), Eleanor Stokes (Yale), Joshua Sperling (NCAR), and Alisa Zomer (Yale).


Negotiations are underway to set objectives and targets and establish a framework for implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to be adopted by the United Nations in September 2015. SDGs differ from their precursors, the Millennium Development Goals, in that they are meant to apply universally to all countries. We define universality as the ‘appropriateness’ of goals, targets, and indicators for global adoption. Universality is particularly important for cities, as acknowledged in Urban SDG 11, which calls to “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”

To determine universal indicators is no simple task.  Tensions often flare in negotiations, as some nations point to their common but differentiated responsibilities while a lack of consensus prevails on definitions and performance metrics for urban sustainability (Hiremath et al., 2013, Lynch et al., 2013, Shen et al., 2011). Efforts to devise a core set of indicators, including the Bangalore Outcome and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), have examined a small set of ‘universal’ indicators but have yet to address how universality applies to specific urban areas. The United Nations Statistical Commission recently released a review and ranking of the feasibility, suitability, and relevance of proposed SDG indicators. The UN-Stats analysis, however, reflects the perspectives of national statistics offices, which are often ill-suited to see the needs and understand the scale of the city.

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