Climate change is one of the most pressing issues affecting the world today. Although half of the world's population lives in urban areas, little consideration has been given to the effects that climate change will have on urban dwellers, especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Yet these regions have most of the world's urban population, including most of its largest cities. Their urban centers already face a wide variety of environmental and development challenges, including large sections of their populations living in informal settlements, often on sites at risk from extreme weather, with large deficits in provision for water, sanitation and drainage.
As noted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fourth Assessment, these are likely to exacerbate vulnerability to climate change. Even more importantly, very little attention has been paid to the issue of adaptation, preventing the loss of lives, livelihoods and assets in urban centres as temperatures and sea levels rise and as extreme events become more frequent and more intense. Yet while the concentration of people and economic activities in towns and cities can intensify their vulnerability, this same concentration provides the opportunity to build safe housing and protective infrastructure, create resilient livelihoods and develop urban systems that reduce risks.
This volume brings together, for the first time, a wide-ranging and detailed body of information identifying and assessing risk, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in urban centers in low- and middle-income countries. Framed by an overview of the main possibilities and constraints for adaptation, the contributorsexamine the implications of climate change for cities in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and propose innovative agendas for adaptation. The book should be of interest to policy makers, practitioners and academics who face the challenge of addressing climate change vulnerability and adaptation in urban centers throughout the global South.
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