Track 4: Lessons for Climate Resilient Cities

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Paradoxically, cities represent both a primary driver of the causes of climate change, and one of the greatest opportunities to mitigate its causes and adapt to its impacts.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are now at their highest for 3 million years and as a result urban areas are vulnerable to increased temperatures and flooding.  Spatial planning and urban design can provide solutions that make our communities less vulnerable to these risks.

There is a direct link between poverty and vulnerability to environmental risk which must be addressed - countries which are both wealthy and at risk are usually ahead in terms of adaptation.  While we need to work nationally and internationally to secure progress on addressing climate change, we also need to galvanise local action. Local communities are at the cutting edge of the climate change challenge because they have responsibility for a wide range of decisions that are vital to our collective future.   Many of the adverse impacts of climate change, such as flooding, will result in costs to businesses and householders, and solutions to the problems they pose need to be developed locally. Adaptation to the risks presented by climate change, such as extreme heat or water scarcity, is key to futureproofing our existing communities and making sure that new developments maintain quality of life and are affordable now and in the future.

This track will focus on the practical steps we can take to adapt to climate change and mitigate its impacts.   This includes exploring the need to think strategically and long term when planning for growth, including the role of leadership - from the role of city mayors to those spearheading grassroots action at the community level.  The track will also explore the best practice examples of adaptation tools and projects that can be effectively replicated worldwide.