Mainstream Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Climate Resilience


Global urbanization over the last century has concentrated people, infrastructure, and economic activity in cities, pushing them to the front lines of damaging impacts of climate change and other social and economic shocks, including COVID-19. Extreme natural disasters in the last 3 years, such as Typhoon Mangkhut (in 2018) in the Philippines, Hurricane Maria (in 2017) and Florence (in 2018) in the United States, the reoccurring extreme floods in Jakarta, and droughts and fires in California and several regions in Australia (in 2020), are expected to become regular occurrences as climate change accelerates.

Cities are already vulnerable to such extremes and may become the most severely threatened global locations, given the projections of continued urban expansion that further concentrates people in high-density locations, including in low-elevation coastal zones. With US$90 trillion expected to be invested in infrastructure (IDB 2017), these new buildings, roads, rail lines, electrical grids, and other critical infrastructure may also be at risk from climate-driven extreme events. The current and future urban risks represent a pressing need for putting the same level of global political will and economic investment in climate adaptation as there is in climate mitigation. The current levels of adaptation are not enough, despite leadership and increasing resilience and adaptation investments in both Global South and North cities.

Cities need new innovative strategies to build their capacities to adapt to a future that is increasingly uncertain (Chester et al. 2020).


Link to centre authors: McPhearson, Timon
Publication info: Frantzeskaki, N., McPhearson, T.. 2021. Mainstream Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Climate Resilience. BioScience.