Cities at Risk Workshop I 26-28 February 2009 in Bangkok, Thailand

The Cities at Risk workshop was held 26-28 February 2009 in Bangkok, Thailand. The workshop brought together nearly 80 scientists, urban planners and officials, and representatives of disaster management and development agencies to review scientific findings and projections regarding climate-related risks (e.g., sea level rise, extreme climate events, intensification of storms and storm surges) for Asia’s coastal megacities. Participants examined potential vulnerabilities and current coping mechanisms in the cities and then discussed actions, in both the short and long term, that would enhance the capacity of cities to manage the risks and vulnerabilities posed by climate change.

Workshop discussion investigated possible planning and governance mechanisms that would better integrate science information, planning, development, and disaster management. Participants also considered means for improving networking and communication among urban planners/officials and the scientific community in order to enhance urban resilience and adaptive capacity.

Workshop discussions generated the following take home messages:

1. Recognize the urgent need to address the disconnect between the geographic and time scales at which the scientific and planning / policy communities are working.

2. Encourage the urban planning community to take a comprehensive view of climate risks, including variability.

3. Recognize and promote the importance of identifying an entrepreneur” in urban governments to help make climate change a priority.

4. Acknowledge knowledge gaps and invest in learning strategies.

5. Move from the traditional top-down impacts modelling approach to a critical threshold approach.

6. Communicate science, and vulnerability in particular, more effectively.

7. Urgently build capacity for individual and institutional participation in responding to climate change in Asia’s coastal megacities.

8. Understand that effective governance at the systemic level is essential in mainstreaming adaptation strategies.

At the conclusion of the February workshop, participants identified city-specific visioning / storyline activities as immediate, practical Cities at Risk follow-up activities that could be organized and implemented within the next several months. Several interested partners collaborated to facilitate “Training of Trainers” and adaptation visioning exercises in Bangkok, Thailand in June 2009, which engaged participants from the City of Bangkok and Governor’s offices in activities aimed at mainstreaming climate change considerations into city development planning and policy. Cities at Risk participants also recommended facilitation of additional capacity building workshops and a Cities at Risk II as critical follow-on activities.

The Cities at Risk workshop was organized by:

Collaborators included:

Local workshop host was:

  • The START Southeast Asia Regional Research Center at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand (

The workshop was funded by:

Last Updated on June 12th, 2012