Experiences of integrated assessment of climate impacts, adaptation and mitigation modelling in London and Durban

TitleExperiences of integrated assessment of climate impacts, adaptation and mitigation modelling in London and Durban
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsWalsh, C., D. Roberts, R. Dawson, J. Hall, A. Nickson, and R. Hounsome
Journal TitleEnvironment and Urbanization
Start Page361
Keywordsadaptation, climate change, decision-making, integrated assessment, local government

The urgent need to reconfigure and transform urban areas to consume fewer resources, emit less pollution, minimize greenhouse gas production, protect natural ecosystems and increase the adaptive capacity to deal with climate risks is widely recognized. The implementation of improved sustainability measures in cities requires integrated thinking that encompasses a whole range of urban functions, often implying a major restructuring of urban energy systems, transport and the built environment, as well as a new approach to the planning and management of natural systems that service urban areas. Many local governments have a limited capacity to deal with such complex and interrelated problems, and this hampers their ability to deal with climate change. With these issues in mind, teams of scientists, practitioners and stakeholders in Durban (led by eThekwini Municipality) and London (led by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research) developed city-scale integrated assessment modelling tools that represent interactions between different urban functions and objectives by linking climate change issues to broader agendas such as spatial planning. This paper reviews each integrated assessment tool, and critically analyzes their effectiveness in terms of technical approach, extent to which they meet policy needs, role of stakeholders in model development and application, barriers to their uptake and the value of and effort required for integration. While these integrated assessment tools did not provide the detailed design information sought by some decision makers, importantly they have stimulated stakeholders to think strategically and hold cross-sectoral conversations around implementing sustainability measures. Despite the technical and institutional challenges associated with the development and uptake of an integrated assessment model, we conclude that they do contribute to the quest for urban sustainability. © 2013 International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).

Tyndall Consortium Institution


Research Programme

Cities and Coasts