Date and Location

February 28, 2020
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
R-414a David T. Ellwood Democracy Lab


Urban Resilience Traps: Pivoting to A New Paradigm for Reducing Climate Risk in Cities of the Global South Photo


The fact that most of the world’s population now lives in urban areas that are facing sharply rising threats from climate change impacts means that the time for ‘business as usual’ is truly over.  Since the advent of ‘urban resilience’ as a paradigm, governments and non-governmental actors have adopted certain modes of reducing risk that are no longer effective in dealing with the climate challenges that towns and cities face. Therefore, in this book we draw on empirical evidence from across the world to argue that the time is ripe to break out of these established ways of working or as we call them, ‘urban resilience traps’ and pivot to a new set of approaches that are fit for purpose.  The book explores cutting edge examples of how big data and artificial intelligence can be coupled with traditional methods of collecting climate information to provide a richer and more granular picture of the challenges that cities face; it draws on emerging examples of transformative climate action to demonstrate pathways of building resilience sustainably and at scale; it illustrates the limits of formal planning and outlines approaches of engaging with informality as part of resilience; it makes a strong argument for balancing the prevailing emphasis on techno-managerial and infrastructure oriented solutions for resilience with a focus on building climate capabilities and competencies of those running cities; and finally, it argues for a shift from the singular focus on international climate finance as the primary source of funds towards a closer examination of the importance of the private sector, emerging innovative finance mechanisms and public budgets as sources of finance for building resilience at scale.  



Dr. Aditya Bahadur is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York where he is writing a book on urban resilience. Previously he served as the Regional Programme Development Manager with the UK Government funded Action on Climate Today Programme (2016-2019) based at Oxford Policy Management. He has 12 years of experience in research, evaluation and practice of disaster risk reduction, climate change and development. In the past he served as the Research Coordinator of the BRACED Programme (one of the world's largest community level resilience building initiatives, running across 9 countries). He has also advised IFAD, the Hewlett Foundation, the Shell Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, ActionAid  and a number UN organs on pathways of climate resilient development. He has published widely on these issues including in highly regarded academic journals. His work has been cited over a thousand times, including by the IPCC and he is a contributing author to the forthcoming IPCC assessment report (AR6). He completed his undergraduate studies at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University and has an MA and a PhD in Development Studies (focus on climate change resilience) from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK.  Aditya was granted a Fellowship by the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS) in 2014 and the World Social Science Fellowship in 2015. He was Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute (2013-2016) and has been awarded the Fulbright-Kalam Postdoctoral Climate Fellowship in 2018. 

Lunch will be served!