Urban Resilience Assessment Framework

There is an increasing awareness that current measures to address climate change are insufficient (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2014, Sheppard et al, 2011; Hamin and Gurran, 2009; Stern, 2006). Urgent measures that not only slow down, or reduce the extent of climate change (Mitigation), but also to address impacts caused by climate change are required (Adaptation) (Hamin and Gurran, 2009; VijayaVenkataRaman et al, 2012 Hrabovszky-Horváth et al, 2013).

Climate change strategies need to ensure that the right mixture of mitigation and adaptation measures is achieved and that these are tailored to the specific context (VijayaVenkataRaman et al, 2012; Sheppard et al, 2011). Synergies between adaptation and mitigation measures need to be harnessed and conflicts avoided (Hamin and Gurran, 2009). Therefore a strong understanding of the relationship between communities and their environment and the interdependencies within between these systems is a key input in the development of urban climate change strategies (Wilkinson, 2012; Andersson-Sköld et al, 2015).

Climate change strategies require methodologies that, firstly, identify potential climate change hazards, secondly, identify vulnerabilities in relation to these hazards and, thirdly, develop responses that address vulnerabilities and result in more resilient urban areas (Mehmood, 2016; Andersson-Sköld et al, 2015). This can be complex and therefore it is useful to carry out a rapid baseline assessment of key factors that contribute to urban resilience and vulnerability at an early stage in the development of urban climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.

This task has been addressed in the Urban Resilience Assessment Framework (URAF). The URAF has ten focus areas. Within each of these areas, a number of questions are provided which can be used to understand the situation in each of these areas in relation to climate change. It also provides a description of methodologies that can be applied as well as the type of data that may be reviewed. The ten focus areas are:

• Climate change hazards
• Climate change vulnerabilities
• Vital infrastructure
• Planning and infrastructure development
• Policy and regulation
• Governance and capacity
• Awareness, education, and engagement
• Social cohesion and networks
• Resources
• Environment and ecosystems

Working through these areas and questions provides a valuable insight into the key factors that need to be understood prior to developing urban climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. A full paper on the framework is available as Gibberd, J., 2017. Pre Design Consideration for Urban Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies presented at the Smart and Sustainable Cities and Transport Seminar,16-18 August 2017, Pretoria South Africa]