Building Urban Public Health Resilience against Climate Change Risks: A Study of Indian Cities
Climate change, rapid urbanization and widespread poverty pose a threat to many growing cities, especially in India, where heat waves and other extreme weather events are frequent hazards to human health.
Rapidly growing cities in Odisha State, India, are prone to climate-change related events such as flooding, heat waves and cyclones. There is an urgent need to increase urban public health resilience by developing location-specific adaptation plans. Our multidisciplinary team will during the one-year networking period identify research and adaptation needs, and finally present a full project proposal to enhance urban resilience to climate risks in Cuttack, Odisha State. We will use a systems approach, collaborate with local stakeholders and communities, and build capacity by involving PhD students. This networking grant will enable our team to develop the project proposal, and strengthen ties between Umeå University, Sweden, and with TERI University, India, for long-term collaboration.
Climate change, rapid urbanization and widespread poverty pose a threat to many growing cities, especially in India, where heat waves and other extreme weather events are frequent hazards to human health. The health care system and public health in general have to adapt to these challenges while at the same time struggling with lack of resources. There is a profound gap in impact assessment and adaptation planning at the local level, requiring the collaboration of scientists, authorities, and communities.
Researchers of our team, based at Umeå University (Sweden), TERI University and Institute for Human Development (India) and Arizona State University (USA), have been collaborating previously in different constellations on smaller projects. Participants contribute with expertise from public health, epidemiology, physiology, population sciences and climatology – an excellent combination of relevant disciplines. All members have been working before with climate change-related research before, although with different approaches and foci.
Our Indian team member Papiya Mazumdar has previously been working with public health stakeholders in Odisha State, eastern India. In this region, an increase of heat waves and storms has been observed, and State and municipal authorities are interested in collaboration to cope with these challenges. In particular, cities in proximity to the coast are seen as vulnerable to climate change.
We thus presented a research project around the topic of climate change adaptation of Indian cities, with a focus on health issues. Based on already existing contacts, Cuttack city in Odisha State was chosen as the project site.
Goal and objectives
The main aim of the one-year networking period, which was funded by SSEESS as a Research Links project, was to write and submit a full research project proposal, that aimed at improving public health resilience to climate change in Cuttack, Odisha State, India.