Extreme Events, Critical Infrastructures, Human Vulnerability and Strategic Planning: Emerging Research Issues

The importance of critical infrastructures and strategic planning in the context of extreme events, climate change and urbanization has been underscored recently in international policy frameworks, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 (UNISDR (United Nations/International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction) 2015), and the new Paris climate agreement (UNFCCC (United Nations — Framework Convention on Climate Change) 2015) as well as the New Urban Agenda (UN-HABITAT 2016). This paper outlines key research challenges in addressing the nexus between extreme weather events, critical infrastructure resilience, human vulnerability and strategic planning. Using a structured expert dialogue approach (particularly based on a roundtable discussion funded by the German National Science Foundation (DFG)), the paper outlines emerging research issues in the context of extreme events, critical infrastructures, human vulnerability and strategic planning, providing perspectives for inter- and transdisciplinary research on this important nexus. The main contribution of the paper is a compilation of identified research gaps and needs from an interdisciplinary perspective including the lack of integration across subjects and mismatches between different concepts and schools of thought.

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