Enhancing urban resilience in face of climate change: a methodological approach

  • Adriana Galderisi University of Naples
  • Floriana Federica Ferrara AIAT – Italian Environmental Engineers Association
Keywords: Urban Resilience, Adaptation, Climate Change


Climate change can be considered as one of the main environmental topic of the 21st century (IPCC, 2011). It poses a serious challenge for cities all over the world (EEA, 2012): cities show, on the one hand  a high level of vulnerability in face of climate change, on the other hand, they are responsible for 60% to 80% of global energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which represent the main causes of change in climate conditions.

In 2011, the 73% of European population was living in urban areas and the level of urbanization is expected to be at 82% by 2050 (UN, 2012). Due to the evidence that in Europe the 69% of all GHG emissions are currently generated by cities, larger and larger is the attention devoted, by scientific literature and policy makers, to outline strategies for urban adaptation to climate change, both at European and local scale.

Governments and scholars currently highlight the need for strengthening urban resilience in face of climate change and related consequences. By this perspective, some actions are already running, even though a clear identification of the features which make a city resilient in face of climate change is still missing.

To fill this gap, this contribution is mainly addressed to:

-  provide, by integrating different disciplinary perspectives, a conceptual model of the set of adaptive capacities and properties that characterize a resilient system;

- verify, starting from a snapshot of current strategies and actions for urban adaptation currently implemented at European level, the consistency between those strategies and the identified set of resilience capacities and properties.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Adriana Galderisi, University of Naples

Researcher at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning - University of Naples Federico II. Professor of Town Planning at the Faculty of Engineering of the University Federico II; Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning. The research activities are addressed to the urban environment requalification and focused on two main topics: the relationships between land use planning, mobility and environmental issues; vulnerability and resilience of urban systems to natural and na-tech events.

Floriana Federica Ferrara, AIAT – Italian Environmental Engineers Association
Environmental Engineer, Master in Environmental Risk Assessment  applied to Cultural Heritage at ENEA (2005). She is a member of the  Scientific Board of the Italian Environmental Engineers Association  
(AIAT). She has participated to different European Projects (SCENARIO, INCA and ENSURE) devoted to risk mitigation and  vulnerability reduction in face of complex hazards. Her current activity refers to planning issues related to environment,  including climate change and sustainable measures for built environment, with a focus on energy efficiency and energy saving topics.


Bahadur, A., Ibrahim, M., Tanner, T. (2010), “The Resilience Renaissance? Unpacking Of Resilience for Tackling Climate Change and Disasters”, Strengthening Climate Resilience Discussion Paper 1, Institute of Development Studies. Brighton, UK.

Bankoff, G., Frerks, G., Hilhorst, D. (2004), Mapping vulnerability. Disasters, development and people. Earthscan, London.

Berkes, F. (2007), “Understanding uncertainty and reducing vulnerability: lessons from resilience thinking”, Natural Hazards 41, 283-295.

Berkes, F., Folke, C. (1998), Linking social and ecological systems: management practices and social mechanisms for building resilience, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Bruneau, M., Chang, S.E., Eguchi, R.T., Lee, G.C., O’Rourke, T.D., Reinhorn, A.M., Shinozuka, M., Tierney, K.T., Wallace, W.A., von Winterfeldt, D. (2003), A framework to quantitatively assess and enhance the seismic resilience of communities, Earthquake Spectra, 19 (4): 733-52.

Buckle, P., Marsh, G., Smale, S. (2000), “New approaches to assessing vulnerability and resilience”, Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 8-14.

Chapin, T. (2009), Concept and strategies to address sustainability in a changing world, Presentation. Available at: www.alaska.edu/epscor/living-on-earth/Terry-Chapin.ppt

Chuvarajan, A., Martel, I., Peterson, C. (2006), A Strategic Approach for sustainability and resilience planning within municipalities, Thesis submitted for completion of Master of Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden.

Corfee-Morlot J., Cochran I., Hallegatte S., Teasdale P.J. (2011), “Multilevel risk governance and urban adaptation policy”, Clim Change. doi:10.1007/s10584-1010-9980-9.

CRSI (Community Resilience System Initiative) (2011), Final Report. A Roadmap to Increased Community Resilience. Available at: http://www.resilientus.org/publications/crsi_final_report.html

EC (2009), White Paper. Adapting to climate change: Towards a European framework for action, Brussels, 1.4.2009 COM(2009) 147 final. Available at: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri= COM:2009:0147:FIN:EN:PDF

EC (2011), A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050, Brussels, 8.3.2011 COM(2011) 112 final. Available at: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri= COM:2011:0112:FIN:EN:PDF

EEA/JRC/WHO (2008), “Impacts of Europe's changing climate. 2008 Indicator-Based Assessment”, EEA Report n° 4. Available at: http://reports.eea. europa.eu/eea_report_2008_4/ en

EEA (2012), “Annual European Union Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990-2010 and Inventory report 2012”, Technical report n° 3. Available at: http://www.eea.europa.eu/ publications/european-union-greenhouse-gas-inventory-2012

EEA (2012a), “Urban Adaptation to Climate Change in Europe, Challenges and opportunities for cities together with supportive national and European policies”, EEA Report n° 2, Copenhagen. Available at: http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/urban-adaptation-to-climate-change

Ekins, P. (1986), ed., The Living Economy: a New Economy in the Making. Routledge Publisher, London and New-York.

EU (2010), Directive 2010/31/EU on the Energy Performance of Buildings. Available at: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2010:153:0013:0035:EN:PDF

EU (2010), European Research Framework Programme Research on Climate Change, Prepared for the Third World Climate Conference (WCC-3) and the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP-15). Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/research/environment/pdf/cop-15.pdf#view=fit&pagemode=none

EU (2011), Cities of Tomorrow. Challenges, Visions, Ways Forward. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/docgener/studies/pdf/citiesoftomorrow/citiesoftomorrow_final.pdf

EU (2011a), Ministry of Interior, Hungary – VÁTI Hungarian Nonprofit Ltd. for Regional Development and Town Planning, Climate Friendly Cities. A Handbook on the Tasks and Possibilities of European Cities in Relation to Climate Change. Available at: http://www.eukn.org/Dossiers/EU_presidencies/ Hungarian_Presidency/Climate

Ensure Project (2010), Integration of different vulnerabilities vs. Natural and Na- tech Hazards, Deliverable 2.2 – Ensure Project. Available at:http://www.ensureproject.eu/ENSURE_Del2.2v2.pdf

Fiksel, J. (2003), “Designing resilient, sustainable systems”, Environmental Science and Technology 37, 23.

Folke, C. (2006), “Resilience: The emergence of a perspective for social-ecological systems analyses”, Global Environmental Change 16, 253-267

Folke, C., Carpenter, S., Elmqvist, T., Gunderson, L., Holling, C. S., Walker, B., et al. (2002), “Resilience and sustainable development: building adaptive capacity in a world of transformations”, Scientific Background Paper. Available at: http://www.sou.gov.se/mvb/pdf/resiliens.pdf

Galderisi, A., Ferrara, F.F., Ceudech, A. (2010), “Resilience and/or Vulnerability? Relationships and Roles in Risk Mitigation Strategies”, in Ache P., Ilmonen M., Space Is Luxury. Selected Proceedings 24th Annual AESOP Conference. Available at: http://lib.tkk.fi/Reports/2010/isbn9789526031309.pdf

Gibson, A.C., Tarrant, M. (2010), “A conceptual models approach to organizational resilience”, The Australian Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 25, N°02, April.

Godschalk, D. R. (2003), Urban Hazard Mitigation: Creating Resilient Cities, Natural Hazards Review, ASCE, August.

Guha Sapir, D., Vos, F., Below, R., Ponserre, S. (2011), Annual Disaster Statistical Review 2010. The numbers and Trends, Cred, Brussels. Available at: http://www.cred.be/sites/default/files/ADSR_2010.pdf.

Handmer, J.W., Dovers, S.R.(1996), “A typology of resilience: rethinking institutions for sustainable development”, Organization Environment 9, 482-511.

Hollnagel, E., Woods, D.D. (2006), “Prologue: Resilience Engineering Concepts”, in Hollnagel, E., Woods, D.D., Leveson, N. Resilience Engineering: Concepts and Precepts, Ashgate. Available at: http://www.ida.liu.se/~eriho/ ResilienceEngineering/ images/Prologue.pdf

IPCC (2007), Climate change 2007: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland. Available at:http://www.ipcc. ch/ipccreports/ar4-syr.htm

IPCC (2011), Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation. Prepared by Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA. Available at: http://srren.ipcc-wg3.de/report/IPCC_SRREN_Full_Report.pdf

ISDR (2004), Living with risk. A global review of disaster reduction initiatives, United Nations Publications.

James, S., Torbjörn L. (2004), The Natural Step for Communities, New Society Publishers. British Columbia, Canada.

Kelman, I. (2008), Critique of Some Vulnerability and Resilience Papers. Version 2, 17, November 2008 (Version 1 was 7 July 2008). Available at: http://www.islandvulnerability.org/ docs/vulnrescritique.pdf

Folke, C. (2006), “Resilience: The emergence of a perspective for social-ecological systems analyses”, Global Environmental Change 16, 253-267.

Maguire, B., Hagan, P. (2007), “Disasters and Communities: Understanding Social Resilience”, The Australian Journal of Emergency Management, Vol. 22, n° 2.

Masten, A.S., Best K. M., Garmezy, N. (1990), Resilience and development: Contributions from the study of children who overcome adversity, Development and Psychopathology 2, pp. 425-444.

Newmann, P., Beatley, T., Boyer, H. (2009), Resilient Cities: Responding to Peak Oil and Climate Change, Island Press.

Norris F., Stevens S., Pfefferbaum B., Wyche K., Pfefferbaum R. (2008), “Community resilience as a metaphor, theory, set of capacities, and strategy for disaster readiness”, American Journal of Community Psychology”, vol. 41.

Paton, D. (2008), “Community Resilience: Integrating Individual, Community and Societal Perspective”, in Gow, K., Paton, D. (eds.) The Phoenix of Natural Disasters: Community Resilience, Nova Science Publishers Inc.

Rodríguez, J.M.S. (2010), “Foreward”, in EC - Directorate General for Research, European Research Framework Programme, Research on Climate Change. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/ research/environment/pdf/cop-15.pdf#view=fit&pagemode=none

Rose, A. (2007), “Economic resilience to natural and man-made disasters: Multidisciplinary origins and contextual dimensions”, Environmental Hazards 7, 383 - 398.

UN (2012), World Urbanization prospects. The 2011 Revision. Available at: http://esa.un.org/unpd/wup/ pdf/WUP2011_Highlights.pdf

UKCIP (2003), Climate adaptation: Risk, uncertainty and decision-making, Available at: http://www.peopleandplace.net/media_library/text/2009/5/19/glossary_of_climate_adaptation_and_decision-making

UN (1994), Yokohama Strategy and Plan Action for a safer world. Guidelines for Natural Disaster Prevention, Preparedness and Mitigation, World Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction, Yokohama, Japan, 23–27 May.

UNECE (2009), Guidance on water and adaptation to climate change, United Nations, New York, Geneva.

UNISDR (2009), UNISDR Terminology on Disaster Risk Reduction, http://www.unisdr.org/eng/terminology/ terminology-2009-eng.html

Van der Veen, A., Logtmeijer, C. (2005), “Economic Hotspots: Visualizing Vulnerability to Flooding”, Natural Hazards 36 (1): 65-80.

Walker, B., Holling, C. S., Carpenter, S. R., Kinzig, A. (2004), “Resilience, adaptability and transformability in social–ecological systems”, Ecology and Society 9(2): 5.

Walsh C.L., Dawson, R.J., Hall J.W., Barr S.L., Batty M., Bristow A.L., Carney S., Dagoumas A.S., Ford A.C., Harpham C., Tight M., Watters H., Zanno A.M. “Assessment of Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in Cities”, Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Urban Design and Planning, Vol. 164 Issue DP2.

Wildavsky, A. (1988), Searching for Safety, New Brunswick, NJ, Transaction Books.

How to Cite
Galderisi, A., & Ferrara, F. (2012). Enhancing urban resilience in face of climate change: a methodological approach. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 5(2), 69-88. https://doi.org/10.6092/1970-9870/936