Cities at Risk - Measure what Matters

Approximately sixty percent of major cities housing 1 billion people are at risk to at least 1 major natural disaster per year (source:  UN DESA/Population Division, World Urbanization Prospects) Data need to compare city vulnerability and readiness to determine relative risk and opportunity that save lives, improve livelihoods and create market value at the City scale.

Climate change is here, and the world’s poor are at extreme risk. All of us, the poor included, are part of the solution to make it better. Adaptation in cities proves a powerful force.  It provides collateral benefits for alleviating poverty, sparking economic development and engaging the global community.

The United Nation’s Green Climate Fund is targeting annual disbursements to emerging economies of up to $100B by 2020. At the same time, the global infrastructure industry is projected to grow to $3.3B in next 4 years.  Why? In 2011, global losses from natural disasters exceeded $380B.

We need to measure what matters to determine global success.  By illuminating regions best prepared to deal with global changes brought about by overcrowding, resource constraints and climate disruption, we can unlock global adaptation solutions in the corporate and development community that save lives and improve livelihoods while strengthening market positions.

In our cities, let's focus on sectors crucial to human health and prosperity that also can be greatly improved by innovation, - water, energy and health.  Here is a start of some indicators we might track:

  1. Growth rate of electricity access
  2. Onsite and distributed energy generation
  3. Paved Roads
  4. Upstream protected land
  5. Distribution of dams and reservoirs
  6. Number and quality of medical professionals

There are dozens of others.  What are your recommendations?