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Climate and Urbanization

  • Peter MarcotullioEmail author
  • Richard Cooper
  • Louis Lebel
Chapter
Part of the Advances in Global Change Research book series (AGLO, volume 56)

Abstract

Urbanization is a major factor across Asia and the Pacific, and so the scope of this chapter is somewhat restricted. There is a focus on larger urban areas, as the small communities of rural areas are discussed in other chapters. The breadth of the topic of urbanization also means that reports by government agencies and NGOs (grey literature) are cited, as well as the formal academic literature. The six sections of the present Chapter systematically review literature in the field. In the first section we overview urbanization trends in the region. In the second section we review the history of urbanization in the region. The third section examines urbanization and climate in Asia and the Pacific. The fourth section describes the risks in urban areas due to climate change-related hazards. The fifth section overviews mitigation and adaptation measures in the region. The final section concludes with the needs for resilient cities and addresses uncertainties, research gaps and policy measures.

Future predictions suggest that large cities will not hold most of the region’s total urban population. In 1990, cities of larger than one million held almost 35.1 % of the total urban population and by 2025 the UN predicts that cities of one million or more will hold 41.2 % of the total urban population. The share of those living in mega-cities is expected to increase from 8.9 % of the total urban population to 12.8 % during the same period. While expectations are for an increase in share, there still remains 58.2 % of the urban population living in settlements smaller than one million. This fact is all the more impressive given the large population that is expected to move into cities in the region between 2010 and 2025 (over 549 million in 15 years, or over 36 million people a year).

Climate resilient cities are those that can withstand climate effects and not change dramatically. They include biophysical and socio-economic sub-systems that can withstand various climate impacts and continue to develop in a fairly predictable manner. Cities that are not resilient change dramatically to new states with new relationships emerging both within the socio-economic sub-system and between the socio-economic and biophysical sub-systems. Resilient cities are sustainable cities. Resilience can be achieved when urban areas move along a more sustainable pathway. The goal of policy makers and stakeholders for their individual urban centres, urban regions as well as nations in the face of climate change is to enhance resilience. In the present review of cities in the Asia-Pacific region, we identify some important aspects that impinge on this goal. Addressing uncertainties, research gaps and policy needs related to climate change and urbanization will help make cities in the region more resilient.

Keywords

GHG emissions Climate hazards Mega-cities Urbanization Climate vulnerabilities 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Marcotullio
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard Cooper
    • 2
  • Louis Lebel
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of GeographyHunter CollegeNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Southeast Asia START Regional Centre (SEA START RC), IW LEARNChulalongkorn UniversityBangkokThailand
  3. 3.Unit for Social and Environmental Research (USER), Faculty of Social SciencesChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand

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