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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

GW Study Assesses Climate Change Vulnerability in Urban America

A new study led by Dr. Sabrina McCormick, associate professor of environmental and occupational health at Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, finds that city planners have yet to fully assess their vulnerability to climate change, leaving serious risks unaddressed.

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[Photo: Dr. Sabrina McCormick]

In their evaluations to-date, they see infrastructure and risks to specific human populations as the primary areas of concern. Despite these concerns, expert assessments of urban climate vulnerability often do not address the real risks that local planners face. Dr. McCormick’s research suggests that national experts must make changes in their approach to ensure that their assessments are useful to urban planners and other city managers responsible for safeguarding their populations’ health and safety and access to energy and natural resources like drinking water.

This study found that in order for expert assessments to be useful on-the-ground they must be geared toward addressing outcomes for which specific sectors in cities are responsible. For example, experts could identify a specific health risk to older populations and identify urban planning strategies to prevent adverse outcomes. Or, risks to infrastructure could be assessed specifically in order to shape future developments.

Read more about the study, “Assessing Climate Change Vulnerability in Urban America:  Stakeholder-Driven Approaches.”