Urban vulnerability to temperature-related hazards: A meta-analysis and meta-knowledge approach
Research on urban vulnerability has grown considerably during recent years, yet consists primarily of case studies based on conflicting theories and paradigms. Assessing urban vulnerability is also generally considered to be context-dependent. We argue, however, that it is possible to identify some common patterns of vulnerability across urban centers and research paradigms and these commonalities hold potential for the development of a common set of tools to enhance response capacity within multiple contexts. To test this idea we conduct an analysis of 54 papers on urban vulnerability to temperature-related hazards, covering 222 urban areas in all regions of the world. The originality of this effort is in the combination of a standard metaanalysis with a meta-knowledge approach that allows us not only to integrate and summarize results across many studies, but also to identify trends in the literature and examine differences in methodology, theoretical frameworks and causation narratives and thereby to compare “apples to oranges.” We find that the vast majority of papers examining urban vulnerability to temperature-related hazards come from an urban vulnerability as impact approach, and cities from middle and low income countries are understudied. One of the challenges facing scholarship on urban vulnerability is to supplement the emphasis on disciplinary boxes (e.g., temperature–mortality relationships) with an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to adaptive capacity and structural drivers of differences in vulnerability. âº Studies on urban vulnerability are based on conflicting theories and paradigms. âº Thirteen factors account for 66% of the tallies of urban vulnerability determinants. âº Reviewed papers mostly come from the urban vulnerability as impact paradigm. âº Scholarship focuses on short time horizons and the city as level of analysis. âº Cities from middle and low-income countries are understudied.