Resilience of Asian cities

BGS Global Research Platform 2

While urban areas only account for around three per cent of the Earth’s land surface, they are home to 55 per cent of the world’s population, generate about 80 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) and produce over 70 per cent of global carbon emissions. 

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Geographic distribution of the BGS ODA Resilience of Asian Cities research. Source: Our World in Data.

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In coming decades, 90 per cent of urban expansion will occur in developing countries. Rapidly urbanising cities are exposed to natural hazards, pressure on resources and significant uncertainty regarding their resilience to environmental change.

Our Official Development Assistance (ODA) programme aims to improve city resilience by integrating geology into urban subsurface planning and urban-catchment science in India and south-east Asia. We have worked closely with city planners, geoscientists and communities across three countries — Malaysia, Vietnam and India — with a focus on:

  • building understanding of urban geoscience by strengthening capacity for managing, interpreting and disseminating geological data using state-of-the-art geological models
  • developing networks between geoscientists, city planners and other interested parties, both within cities and across the region
  • addressing city-specific issues such as the role of groundwater, subsidence, building material life cycles or engineering hazards
Urban and rural population projected to 2050
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Urban and rural population projected to 2050. Source: Our World in Data.

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The project has been developed in partnership with institutions in Asia, and is structured around addressing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly:

  • sustainable cities and communities (SDG11)
  • industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG9)
  • responsible consumption and production (SDG12)
  • clean water and sanitation (SDG6)

Further projects

  • 3D models for better understanding of urban geoscience
  • 3D Kuala Lumpur
  • Hanoi urban geology database
  • geology, groundwater and lakes, Bangalore
  • subsidence, Hanoi
  • Red River Delta projects

BGS, in partnership with Vietnam Institute of Geosciences and Mineral Resources (VIGMR) and with community engagement, has created a workshop that aims to increase preparation for hydrometeorological hazards and will allow researchers to maximise the social impacts of national and international research programmes.

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