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Global environmental change: conceptualising the growing challenge for cities in poor countries

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Abstract:

Ongoing urbanisation makes cities a key focus for global environmental change (GEC) research, creating an imperative for a new, city-scale, research agenda. The vulnerability of urban populations to the multiple stresses of GEC lies at the core of overlapping domains of knowledge that could be better integrated in advancing research. The urban development, global change and disasters literatures are fragmented and reveal fundamental cleavages over the role that government could play in mitigating vulnerability to multiple threats and challenges. Important empirical gaps exist, especially on cities of the South. While there are significant knowledge gaps and numerous tensions within and between schools of thought, this overview suggests useful entry points for framing an invigorated research agenda on urban GEC.

Keywords: cities; global South; global environmental change; risk; urban livelihoods; urban planning; urbanisation; vulnerability

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-4762.2007.00760.x

Affiliations: 1: Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences, University of Cape Town, Private Bag 3, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa 2: CEDAR, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX, Email: d.simon@rhul.ac.uk 3: School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, 1 Jan Smuts Avenue, Johannesburg 2001, South Africa

Publication date: September 1, 2007

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