10 reasons why we need to adapt our cities to climate change 

Written by Milnael GOMEZ, MobiliseYourCity

As cities grapple with the escalating impacts of climate change in 2023, the imperative for climate adaptation within urban transport systems becomes undeniable. In this article, we process the essence of this necessity into ten succinct reasons. From the immediate threats of extreme weather events to economic benefits, societal consequences, and environmental resilience, each reason converges to spotlight the critical role of climate adaptation in shaping a sustainable urban future. Here, we present 10 reasons why prioritising climate adaptation in urban transport systems isn't just a response to challenges but a transformative investment in resilient and sustainable cities. 


1. Climate Emergency 

The year 2023 is hurtling towards a dubious distinction as the warmest ever recorded, surpassing pre-industrial averages by a concerning 1.4°C. 

2. Extreme Weather Events 

Anticipated intensification of floods, sea-level rise, storms, droughts, and heatwaves directly imperils cities and their intricate urban transport system. 

3. Societal Consequences

As climate change amplifies the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, vulnerable communities, particularly in low-lying coastal cities and deltas, face disproportionate risks. These effects are amplified in cities in the global south that are unprepared to face the upcoming challenges and where local transport systems highly depend on paratransit. 

4. Economic Benefits 

Strategic investments in climate change adaptation for urban transport system components such as infrastructure, vehicles, operations, users, regulations, and technological systems mitigate human and financial losses and fortify the system's safety and resilience. 

5. Accessibility 

Disruptions caused by extreme weather events ripple across society, hindering access to education, employment, markets, services, and products exacerbating economic, gender, and societal inequalities. 

6. Positioning Topic 

While often sidelined, climate change adaptation is indispensable for the comprehensive development of urban planning policies in developing countries. 

7. Transportation Emissions 

The transportation sector generates a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. To combat climate change, we must adapt to current challenges and implement sustainable policies to curb emissions, preventing potential doubling by 2050. 

8. Improved Diagnosis

Integrating climate adaptation requires a nuanced understanding of climate patterns and their impact on our cities. Such insights are critical for assessing the preparedness of our infrastructure to changing conditions. 

9. Improved Infrastructure Resilience 

Enhancing the resilience of urban transport systems ensures they are designed to withstand the impacts of extreme weather events, reducing the risk of damage and the need for costly repairs. 

10. Emergency Response 

An adaptive urban transport system is fundamental for effective emergency response and evacuation during extreme weather events, safeguarding the safety and well-being of residents. 


Summing up, prioritising climate adaptation in urban transport systems is not merely a response to a pressing need but an investment in our cities' sustainable and resilient future. By considering these ten reasons, we can collectively shape policies that safeguard our communities, particularly the most vulnerable among us.MobiliseYourCity will continue promoting climate change adaptation in our cities jointly with our donors and partners.