Panel Discussion: "What does the future hold for cities, climate change and migration?"

28 October 2021

Portrait of Professor Michael Keith

with Professor Michael Keith
Director of the PEAK Urban Research programme

Michael Keith is Professor at COMPAS, University of Oxford, Director of the PEAK Urban Research programme, co-ordinator of Urban Transformations (The ESRC portfolio of investments and research on cities). He was the Director of COMPAS until October 2...

Portrait of Professor Tim Schwanen

with Professor Tim Schwanen
Professor of Transport Studies and Human Geography

Professor Tim Schwanen is Director of the Transport Studies Unit at the University of Oxford. He previously held various research and lecturer positions in Oxford and at Utrecht University, the Netherlands where he also completed his PhD dissertatio...

Portrait of Professor Kazem Rahimi

with Professor Kazem Rahimi
Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Population Health

Kazem Rahimi is a Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Population Health, at the University of Oxford and a consultant cardiologist at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust. His research interests include hypertension, heart failure, multimor...

55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas. By 2050 this will rise to 70% - almost 2.5 billion people. Nearly one billion of these people live in informal settlements.

Cities will also be key in responding to climate change and transformation to sustainable consumption and production. Cities consume close to 2/3 of the world’s energy and account for more than 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Almost half a billion urban residents live in coastal areas, increasing their vulnerability even more.

So, how can we design and develop cities to be resilient to the effects of climate change? How can we provide for affordable housing and infrastructure, promote sustainable economic development and work towards a zero carbon future? And to add to all this, how can we factor migration into this urban management in the era of climate change?

Climate change has rarely, until now, been the sole factor prompting migration, but it most certainly exacerbates it. Yet, there remain gaps in our knowledge and evidence of this.

The Oxford Martin Programme on Informal Cities is collecting new and harmonising existing evidence including geospatial data and satellite imagery to study informal neighbourhoods, economies, health and climate change in cities. With diverse expertise in anthropology, geography, mathematics, data science and epidemiology, the team are investigating the migration effects of climate change and the implications for cities, with a specific focus on Addis Ababa and Delhi.

This panel discussion will look at these challenges, particularly in times of re-emerging conflicts and the global pandemic and investigate what urgent action can academics, policy-makers and the global community take.