The world’s most climate-resilient cities
The world’s climate crisis has woke up debate on how climate-resilient our cities are. Brutal weather events such as sweeping floods, hurricanes, wildfires, and heatwaves have been witnessed across continents affecting vulnerable urban populations.
World’s cities are uniquely more susceptible to the effects of an escalating climate crisis due to their population density and extensive infrastructure.
Very few cities in the world are currently well equipped to deal with more frequent and devastating extreme weather occurrences.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in August released a chilling climate report linking extreme weather events to human-induced climate change. The report projected that extreme weather events will be more frequent in the coming decades.
The world’s leaders should therefore take proactive measures to adapt their cities and protect urban populations from climate-associated extreme weather events. Cities are adopting green infrastructure models to modify, strengthen built environments to more climate-resilient cities. Developing urban green spaces will play a critical role in reducing extreme heat events.
This will help reduce human suffering and protect urban towns from the effects of a warming planet.
List of the world’s most climate-resilient cities
The Netherlands is a low-lying country and most susceptible to the ravages of urban flooding. Due to Rotterdam’s vulnerability to flooding, its authorities have worked to develop green infrastructure to build a waterproof city.
Rotterdam leaders have turned to waterproof measures such as elevating buildings to increase Rotterdam’s resiliency against urban flooding and, growing plants along railways to absorb flooding and reduce heat.
Water squares have also been initiated to absorb rainfall and ease the stress on sewage systems.
Copenhagen, a city with a population of 638, 678 has made great strides in climate change to adapt to increased downpours. The city pledged to become fully carbon neutral by 2025.
measures adopted by the city to go carbon neutral:
- Biking over cars: 49 percent of all trips in the city occur on bikes
- Efficient energy use: 98 percent of the city’s heating comes from waste heat from electricity production.
India is among climate risky countries in the world with its densely populated economic center of Ahmedabad (Population 7.2 million) to no exception.
Ahmedabad authorities are working to protect local communities from rising temperatures and the deadly threat of extreme heat.
In 2013, city leaders developed the Ahmedabad Heat Action Plan to warn vulnerable populations that are most at risk of heat-related illnesses.
The city has also developed the “cool roofs” initiative. The initiative entails using eco-friendly building materials such as coconut husk and paper waste, and cheap lime-white paint to deflect sunlight away from buildings. The cool roofs reduce indoor temperatures lower by 3.6 – 9° F.
According to the authorities, cool roofs are cost-effective solutions that work to protect vulnerable groups and slum communities.
Chicago with a population: 2.71 million people is one of the United States’ most vulnerable cities to climate change.
Chicago has made strides in climate preparedness in:
- Adopted green stormwater infrastructure
- Developed urban vertical farms
The city host the world’s largest urban vertical farms that grow vegetables in a 90,000-square-foot facility.
In 2014, the city developed a $50-million, five-year green stormwater infrastructure plan to reduce basement flooding and water pollution and improve environmental quality and climate resilience.
The features of the plan include:
- Capturing, storing, and filtering water through green techniques rather than channeling it into storm drains
- Investing in permeable, or more water-absorbent, pavement to reduce flooding
- Compiling rainfall frequency data so officials can better predict flooding
Fukuoka with a population of 1.5 million is facing the dual threats of increased extreme heat events and increased risk of flooding from rivers and surface runoff due to periods of intense rainfall.
The city is developing urban green spaces that will help reduce extreme heat events.
The city’s urban green spaces include the terraced gardens on the roof of the Grin Grin Park buildings and ACROS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall. The green spaces help reduce the temperature in the immediate surroundings.
Fukuoka city has also a plan to surveying how winds flow through the city to determine where it would be best to plant trees and maintain parks. These green spaces can also help absorb water runoff during periods of intense rainfall.
The residents have also been encouraged to grow green plant walls on the sides of their homes for cooling purposes and to reduce energy costs.