Climate change, urban vulnerability and adaptation strategies to pluvial flooding

Main Article Content

Carmela Apreda


In the study of impacts that multiple extreme events (natural and human) can produce on ecosystems, phenomena related to weather and climate changes represent a relevant, but not new, threats for human settlements, which have always faced with changing environmental and weather conditions. However, human activity of territorial alteration that took place over the centuries represents a disturbing action to the natural system, which requires new design approaches.

The construction of buildings and spaces with impervious surfaces and the introduction of specific activities in urban areas have altered the natural hydrological cycle. The combination of these anthropic features with the increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events determines substantial impacts on built environment and population. In relation to this, it is necessary to work starting from the knowledge of the vulnerability characteristics of the affected systems, in order to implement suitable strategies and measures able to enhance a system's ability to adapt to change.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Apreda, C. (2016). Climate change, urban vulnerability and adaptation strategies to pluvial flooding. UPLanD - Journal of Urban Planning, Landscape & Environmental Design, 1(1), 233.


Abramovitz, J. (2001). Unnatural Disasters. Worldwatch Paper 158. Washington, DC, USA: Worldwatch Institute,

Acot, P. (2007). Catastrofi climatiche e disastri sociali. Perché le eccezioni stanno diventando la norma, trad. it. Maria L’Erario, Roma: Donzelli editore (ed. orig. Catastrophes climatiques, désastres sociaux).

Adger, W.N. (2006). Vulnerability. Global Environmental Change, 16(3): 268-281.

Annan, K. (2003, October 8). Message for the International Day for Disaster Reduction. Retrieved from

Bankoff, G. (2010, August 23). There are No Such Things as Natural Disasters. Retrieved from

Birkmann, J. (2006). Measuring Vulnerability to Natural Hazards: towards disaster resilient societies. New York: United Nations University.

Bohle, H.-G. (2001). Vulnerability and Criticality: Perspectives from Social Geography. Newsletter of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change, 2: 1-7.

Brooks, N. & Adger, W.N. (2004). Assessing and enhancing adaptive capacity, Technical Paper 7. In B. Lim, B. & E. Spanger-Siegfried (eds.), Adaptation Policy Frameworks for Climate Change: Developing Strategies, Policies and Measures, New York, NY: United Nations Development Programme and Cambridge University Press (pp. 165-182).

Brooks, N. (2003). Vulnerability, risk and adaptation: a conceptual framework. Working Paper 38. Norwich, UK: Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

C40 (2015, March 16). City Climate Hazard Taxonomy, C40’s classification of city-specific climate hazards. Retrieved from

Chambers, R. (1989). Vulnerability, coping and policy. IDS Bulletin, 20: 1–7.

Ciurean, R.L., Schröter, D. & Glade, T. (2013). Conceptual Frameworks of Vulnerability Assessment for Natural Disasters Reduction. In J. Tiefenbacher (ed.), Approaches to Disaster Management - Examining the Implications of Hazards, Emergencies and Disasters, Rijeka, HR: InTech. (pp. 3-32).

Climateapp (n.d.). Adaptation solutions, Retrieved from

Cutter, S. L. (1996). Vulnerability to environmental hazards. Progress in Human Geography, 20: 529-539.

Daudet, A., Calo, M., Crahay, P., Ham, F., Ilboudo, A., Israel, A.-D., Jacob, J., Mattinen, H., Peroni, J., Pietzsch, S., Radin, N. & Durand Zurdo J. (2011). Food security & livelihoods surveillance a practical guide for field workers. ACF International, Technical Department Of Food Security And Livelihoods.

Defra. (2010, March). Surface Water Management Plan Technical Guidance. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, London, UK. Retrieved from

Eakin, H., & A. L. Luers (2006). Assessing the Vulnerability of Social-Environmental Systems. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 31: 365-394.

EEA (2016). Urban adaptation to climate change in Europe 2016. Transforming cities in a changing climate. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

Falconer, R. (2009, October 28). EWA Expert Meeting on Pluvial Flooding in Europe. Final Report, European Water Association, Bruxelles. Retrieved from$FILE/EWA%20expert%20meeting%20on%20pluvial%20flood_Final%20Report.pdf.

Fellmann, T. (2012). The assessment of climate change-related vulnerability in the agricultural sector: reviewing conceptual frameworks. Proceedings of a Joint FAO/OECD Workshop, Building resilience for adaptation to climate change in the agriculture sector, Rome, IT, April 23–24, 2012.

FRC (2016). Understanding Pluvial Flooding. FloodResilienCity. Retrieved from

Füssel, H.-M. & Jol, A. (2012). Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe 2012. An indicator-based report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

Füssel, H.-M. (2005). Vulnerability in Climate Change Research: A Comprehensive Conceptual Framework. Breslauer Symposium Paper 6 and FAVAIA Working Paper 2, Berkeley, CA, USA: University of California International and Area Studies.

Füssel, H.-M. (2007). Vulnerability: A generally applicable conceptual framework for climate change research. Global Environmental Change, 17(2): 155-167.

Hewitt, K. (ed.) (1983). Interpretations of Calamity from the Viewpoint of Human Ecology. London, UK: Allen & Unwin.

Houston, D., Werritty, A., Bassett, D., Geddes, A, Hoolachan, A. & McMillan, M. (2011). Pluvial (rain-related) flooding in urban areas: the invisible hazard. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

IPCC (2012). Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation. A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Field, C.B., V. Barros, T.F. Stocker, D. Qin, D.J. Dokken, K.L. Ebi, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, G.-K. Plattner, S.K. Allen, M. Tignor, and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge, UK, and New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press.

IRDR (2014). Peril Classification and Hazard Glossary. IRDR DATA Publication N° 1. Beijing: Integrated Research on Disaster Risk.

Kelman, I. (2010, July 9). Natural Disasters Do Not Exist (Natural Hazards Do Not Exist Either). Retrieved from:

Kelman, I. (2011). Understanding Vulnerability to Understand Disasters. In B.L. Murphy & D. Etkin (eds.), Canadian Disaster Management Textbook, Canada: Canadian Risk and Hazards Network (cap. 7).

Klein, R. J. T. & Nicholls, R. J. (1999). Assessment of coastal vulnerability to climate change. Ambio, A Journal of the Human Environment, 28(2): 182–187.

Lewis, J. (1999). Development in Disaster-prone Places: Studies of Vulnerability. London: Intermediate Technology Publications.

Lindley, S., O’Neill, J., Kandeh, J., Lawson, N., Christian, R. & O’Neil, M. (2011). Climate change, justice and vulnerability. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Local Government Association (2014, August 26). Surface water (pluvial) flooding. Retrieved from Accessed 08.10.2012.

Maksimovic, C. & Saul, A. (2015). Urban Pluvial and Coincidental Flooding, Londra: IWA Publishing.

Marotta, N. & Zirilli, O. (2015). Disastri e catastrofi. Rischio, esposizione, vulnerabilità e resilienza. Rimini: Maggioli.

Moss, R. H., Brenkert, E.L. & Malone, E.L. (2001). Vulnerability to Climate Change: A Quantitative Approach. Washington, DC: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Nott, J. (2006). Extreme events: a physical reconstruction and risk assessment, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ochoa-Rodríguez, S., Onof, C., Maksimović, Č., Wang, L.-P., Willems, P., Van Assel, J., Gires, A., Ichiba, A., Bruni, G. & ten Veldhuis, M.-C. (2013). Urban pluvial flood modelling: current theory and practice. Retrieved from

Parker, D. J., Priest, S. J. & McCarthy, S. S. (2011). Surface water flood warnings requirements and potential in England and Wales. Applied Geography, 31(3), 891-900.

Peltonen, L., Haanpää, S. & Lehtonen, S. (2005). The challenge of climate change adaptation in urban planning. FINADAPT Working Paper 13, Helsinki: Finnish Environment Institute Mimeographs 343.

Pitt, M. (2008). The Pitt Review: Learning lessons from the 2007 floods. London, UK: Cabinet Office.

Queensland Government (2011). Understanding floods: questions & answers. Retrieved from

Schmitt, T., Thomas, M. & Ettrich, N. (2004). Analysis and modeling of flooding in urban drainage systems. Journal of Hydrology, 299(3–4), 300-311.

Scottish Environment Protection Agency (2015, August 6). Strategic Flood Risk Assessment - SEPA technical guidance to support development planning. Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Stirling, UK, Retrieved from

Shaw, R., Colley, M. & Connell, R. (2007). Climate change adaptation by design: a guide for sustainable communities. London: TCPA.

Silva, M.M. & Costa, J.P. (2016). Flood Adaptation Measures Applicable in the Design of Urban Public Spaces: Proposal for a Conceptual Framework. Water 2016, 8(7): 1-26.

SuDS (n.d.). SuDS Components. Retrieved from

Swart, R., Fons, J., Geertsema, W., van Hove, B., Gregor, M., Havranek, M., Jacobs, C., Kazmierczak, A., Krellenberg, K., Kuhlicke, C., Peltonen, L. (2012). Urban Vulnerability Indicators. A joint report of ETC-CCA and ETC-SIA, Technical Report 01/2012. European Topic Centre on Climate Change Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation (ETC/CCA) and European Topic Centre on Spatial Information and Analysis (ETC/SIA).

Tahmasebi, A. (2013). Pastoral Vulnerability to Socio-Political and Climate Stresses: The Shahsevan of North Iran Berlin, DE: ZEF Development Studies LIT.

Tiranti, D. (1977). The Un-natural Disasters. The New Internationalist, 53: 5-6.

UN & ISDR (2004). Living with risk: a global review of disaster reduction initiatives. New York: United Nations & International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.

UNEP (2004). Reducing disaster risk a challenge for development. New York: United Nations Development Programme, Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery.

Watson, D., & Adams, M. (2011). Design for flooding: Architecture, landscape, and urban design for resilience to flooding and climate change. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Wilhelmi, O. V. & Hayden, M. H. (2010). Connecting people and place: a new framework for reducing urban vulnerability to extreme heat. Environmental Research Letters, 5.