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Building Climate Resilience: The Economics of Alternative Development Futures

Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Started In: 
Completed In: 
Supported By: 
The Rockefeller Foundation

Development pathways influence urban cities’ greenhouse gas emission portfolios and global climate trends.  This Rockefeller Foundation supported project explored alternative development pathways in Gorakhpur city. The goal was to use real examples that city was considering or could consider to investigate alternatives to traditional development approaches. This research was built upon previous studies of building resilience in Gorakhpur under the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network process.

This research project conducted a forward-looking climate-based economic analysis to explore the costs and benefits of specific choices currently being explored to build resilience. It focused primarily on the hazards of urban flooding.  The approach was to study the contrasting returns from a base “development as usual” scenario and from scenarios that build resilience and reduce future exposure and losses (through strategic design changes in transportation, flood management, and shelter systems). These development scenarios/pathways were evaluated over the medium-term (from the present to the 2040s) in relation to downscaled precipitation projections from the most regionally appropriate general circulation models, as well as patterns of urban development projected over that period.

The key messages were as follows:

  • Implementation of a storm water drainage system (and maintaining it) would provide the best results in terms of Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR)  
  • The reduction in inundation due to maintenance of open space does not compare favourably with the cost of land
  • There are co-benefits to resilience measures that have not been monetized