Research Needs for Advancing Science on Cities and the Built Environment in the Context of Climate Change

Research on the special vulnerabilities of cities and built-up areas to climate change is needed, as is research on the response options available for cities to limit the magnitude of climate change or adapt to its impacts. Some key research needs, which are explored in further detail in Chapter 12, include the following:

• Characterize and quantify the contributions of urban areas to both local and global changes in climate.

• Assess the vulnerability of cities and their residents to climate change, including the relative vulnerability of different populations and different urban forms (e.g., design, geometry, and infrastructure) and configurations relative to other human settlements.

• Develop and test approaches for limiting and adapting to climate change in the urban context, including, for example, the efficacy of and social considerations involved in adoption and implementation of white and green roofs, landscape architecture, smart growth, and changing rural-urban socioeconomic and political linkages.

• Improve understanding of the links between air quality and climate change, including measurements, modeling, and analyses of socioeconomic benefits and trade-offs associated with different GHG emissions-reduction strategies in the context of air quality, especially strategies that may simultaneously benefit both climate and air quality.

• Improve understanding of urban governance capacity and develop effective decision-support tools and approaches for decision making under uncertainty, especially when multiple governance units may be involved.

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