Current estimates of climate change state that the world’s average temperature is due to increase by at least 2oC to 2.4oC over the next 50?100 years. Furthermore it is expected that by the end of the century a range of additional impacts will be felt: sea levels will rise by an estimated 60cm, resulting in flooding and the salinisation of fresh water aquifers, and snow and ice cover will decrease. Simultaneously, precipitation patterns will change so that some areas will receive large increases whilst other areas will become hotter and drier.
This concept paper summarises some of the current issues, concerns and debates surrounding urban vulnerability, climate change and the ability of certain adaptation and mitigation strategies to reduce or moderate the impacts and effects of climate change for slum and informal dwellers.
Importantly for urban areas, it is expected that there will be an increase in the number and severity of certain types of “disasters” such as tropical cyclones, storms, floods and heat waves (GTZ, n.d.). There will also be a host of indirect impacts for cities, such as decreases in food production, freshwater availability and large numbers of migrants and climate change refugees (World Bank, 2010).
The paper find that the end result is that poor urban dwellers who already live in states of vulnerability and currently bear the highest health and diseases burden will be most affected by climate change. Within that group, differentiations can still be made such that women, the very young, and very old, new migrants and the generally socially and politically marginalized will be most adversely affected.
The author conludes by admiting that there are certainly ‘gaps’ in the literature, advocacy on vulnerability of urban dwellers to climate change and suggests a variety of interventions around land rights, land tenure and vulnerability, mitigation and adaptation strategies to reduce or moderate the impacts and effects of climate change for slum and informal dwellers.
Authors and Publishers
"Urban LandMark" is short for the Urban Land Markets Programme Southern Africa. Based in Pretoria, the programme was set up in May 2006 with seven years of funding from the UK's Department for International Development until March 2013. The initiative is now hosted at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa.
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