Urbanization, Climate Change and Environmental Resilience: Experiences in Sri Lanka

Mangala De Zoysa


Urbanization in conjunction with climatic change affecting urban life and pose challenges to cities worldwide creating urban residents increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather and other natural disasters. Improvement of urban ecosystems provide cost-effective solution against negative impacts of climate change accelerated with high population pressure and promote resilience of urban dwellers. The cities in Sri Lanka are focused on improving land use planning and management of urban forest ecosystems for adaptation to and mitigation of climate change impacts with the rapid urbanization. This study attempts to ascertain the effects of urbanization, analyze the impacts of urbanization and climate change, and examine the environmental resilience with urban forests in Sri Lanka, reviewing the relevant literature. This paper explore the effects of urbanization in terms of increase population, land use change, rising greenhouse gas emissions and intensity of urban heat island. The impacts of urbanization and climate change are revealed as change of annual rainfall, urban warming, extreme weather events, and urban health hazards. Disaster resilient cities, sustainable urbanization, greening the cities, other environmental resilience strategies as well as institutional and policy setting are discussed for environmental resilience to urbanization and changing climate. Limiting CO2 emission, reducing land surface temperature, and controlling urban heat island effect are discussed under the other environmental resilience strategies. Institutional and policy setting is explained through popularizing urban forestry and developing policy support. Urban forestry strategies incorporating urban planning should be manifested in urban development policy in order to counteract the negative effects of climate change in the process of environmental resilience and sustainable urbanization.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/uspa.v4n1p46


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