Man-made climate change not only directly affects the frequency and severity of weather-related hazards, it also brings longer–term shifts such as sea level rise, water scarcity and quality issues, as well as sustained higher temperatures and heatwaves, said the report
Going forward, urban risks are expected to be driven by three main underlying trends: climate change and extreme weather events; smart urbanisation and the risk of systemic and catastrophic disruptions; and socio-demographic shifts such as income and wealth inequality.
These trends have the potential to adversely affect critical parts of a city’s operations, putting the health, lives, livelihoods and assets of inhabitants at risk, said a research report “Future Urban Risk Landscapes: An insurance perspective’’ authored by Kai-Uwe Schanz, deputy managing director and head of research & foresight at The Geneva Association, the think-tank of more than 70 global global re/insurance CEOs.
According to the report,by 2050, more than two thirds of the world’s population is projected to live in cities. Urbanisation is associated with fundamental socio-economic changes that present formidable challenges to socio-economic resilience and have significant risk management and insurance implications.
This report explores the link between urbanisation and the dynamics of risk landscapes and examines insurers’ potential contribution to mitigating emerging vulnerabilities.
Man-made climate change not only directly affects the frequency and severity of weather-related hazards, it also brings longer-term shifts such as sea level rise, water scarcity and quality issues, as well as sustained higher temperatures and heatwaves, said the report..
Grouped together as chronic physical climate risks, these changes may render existing social and physical systems in cities ineffective,e.g. infrastructure in the face of more frequent storm surges or snow storms, and exacerbate social vulnerabilities, explained the report.
Smart urbanisation is characterised by a move to technologybased urban infrastructures aimed at delivering city services more efficiently and effectively to foster urban resilience and sustainability.
However, the expected benefits can be accompanied by unintended consequences, e.g. an increasing exposure to catastrophic scenarios such as space weather and heightened security and criminal risks, said the report.
Most cities are characterised by significant inequalities in economic, social and living conditions. Informal settlements,like slums, are the most pronounced manifestation of inequality and continue to be a growing feature of the urban landscape and a persistent risk for municipal authorities.
Demographic shifts, such as the rapid ageing of mature market urban populations and the rise of middle-class populations in emerging economies, also impact future urban risk landscapes.