The Five Broad Urban Types of the Cities


Cities can be grouped into five broad urban types based on the most significant environmental risjks they face. Grouping cities into urban types can be a useful way for national or regional level decision-makers, development agencies, companies and municipal authorities to pin-point common areas for action, innovation, or investment.

Type 1 – Energy intensive, sprawled cities with significant carbon footprints. These cities can be characterized as sprawled cities with high carbon emissions and high energy intensity. Examples are Bangalore in India and Cape Town in South Africa.

Type 2 – Cities with Major Climate Hazards. These cities face major climate hazard risks – predominantly from flooding – which are likely to intensify over time. Examples are Dhaka in Bangladesh, Kampala in Uganda.

Type 3 – Cities with Regional Support System(s) at Risk (Water, food, biodiversity). These cities face significant risks within their urban catchment affecting either their water security, food security, or risks to biodiverse natural habitats and ecosystems (for example virgin rainforest areas or wetlands). Examples are Karachi in Pakistan, and Da Nang in Vietnam.

Type 4 – Cities with Multiple Risks: Energy, Carbon, Climate Hazards, and Regional Support Systems. These cities are both at risk from major climate hazards and have relatively high carbon emissions and high energy intensity. Some of these cities also face significant risks to either their water security, food security, or biodiverse natural habitats. Examples are Jakarta in Indonesia and Bangkok in Thailand.

Type 5 – Cities with a Low Current Risk Profile. A limited number of cities have a relatively low current risk profile, although this could change over time as factors such as population pressures and climate change intensify. Examples are Blantyre-Limbe and Lilongwe in Malawi.

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