Distributional Impacts of Climate Change and Disasters
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Distributional Impacts of Climate Change and Disasters

Concepts and Cases

Edited by Matthias Ruth and María E. Ibarrarán

Climate change tends to increase the frequency and intensity of weather-related disasters, which puts many people at risk. Economic, social and environmental impacts further increase vulnerability to disasters and tend to set back development, destroy livelihoods, and increase disparity nationally and worldwide. This book addresses the differential vulnerability of people and places, introducing concepts and methods for analysis and illustrating the impact on local, regional, national, and global scales.
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Chapter 7: Climate Change and Cities: Differential Impacts and Adaptation Options in Industrialized Countries

Matthias Ruth, Paul H. Kirshen and Dana Coelho


7. Climate change and cities: differential impacts and adaptation options in industrial countries Matthias Ruth, Paul H. Kirshen and Dana Coelho INTRODUCTION As the number of people in urban areas increases, along with the volume and intensity of their economic activities, there is a corresponding increase in environmental impacts. With these social and economic changes, the resilience of urban systems is impacted (Rotmans 2006). These impacts are chiefly determined by the interplay of historical, ethnic, economic, locational and environmental policies. They are rarely, if ever, spread uniformly across society. Not all inhabitants of cities have equal abilities to cope. Thus these differential impacts present equity and justice concerns in relation to adaptation costs (Adger 2001). The differential impacts and abilities to adapt influence the larger social, economic and environmental changes in urban areas. Because those changes are non-trivial with respect to their magnitude, as well as the moral and ethical obligations they may create, assessments of life in, as well as the planning and management of, cities need to be sensitive to these differential impacts. Traditional urban analysis has focused on the individual drivers of urban change and their impacts on people, the economy and the environment (for example, Robson 1969; Dear and Dishman 2002). Urban systems analysis is often rich in empirical detail and theoretical conceptualization relative to temporal and spatial dimensions of urban change (for example, Black and Henderson 1999; Fujita et al. 1999; Brenner 2000). However, the interconnection among the various drivers and repercussions – social, economic and...

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