Climate Change

City Resiliency and Climate Change: A Report from the 2020 Inter-Policy School Summit

June 29, 2020  • Energy and Environment Program & Harris School of Public Policy Inter-Policy School Summit

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The Inter-Policy School Summit is a student-run conference hosted by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. The Summit brings together graduate students from around the world each year to propose solutions to pressing global issues. The 2020 Summit was held February 28 – March 1, 2020. Graduate students from twenty universities in four countries gathered together to explore innovative strategies to address the issue of City Resiliency and Climate Change with the goal of identifying potential solutions to help urban areas adapt to climate change related challenges.

As climate change alters our environment and causes increased instances of extreme weather, cities around the world are faced with new, damaging, and often life-threatening weather events. Dangerous flooding, superstorms, unprecedented heat waves, and raging forest fires are just a few of the climate change-related phenomena that present challenges to cities’ infrastructures and disaster response abilities. Vulnerable cities around the world need actionable sustainability and resilience plans to protect the health and safety of their citizens. While many cities may understand the need to act, they often face obstacles, such as lack of resources, expertise, manpower, or political will to find and implement the most effective or innovative solutions.

At the Summit, participants were assigned into groups, each examining this issue in the context of a particular city. The cities included were: Lagos, Nigeria; Wollongong, Australia; Jakarta, Indonesia; Venice, Italy; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA; Delhi, India; Santiago, Chile; and Buffalo, New York, USA. These cities were specifically chosen because of the variety of climate challenges they face including coastal flooding, wildfires, extreme heat, and potential in-migration of climate refugees. This report present the findings of each group.