A new typology of climate change risk for European cities and regions: Principles and applications

Stephen Hincks, Jeremy Carter, Angela Connelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper aims to contribute to the analysis of climate change risk through the development of a new spatially-explicit typology of climate risk for European cities and regions. In doing so, it offers a direct response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) call to advance awareness of climate change risks at sub-national levels through the integration of hazard, exposure and vulnerability domains into a composite risk classification that covers the whole of Europe. K-means clustering was applied to 49 variables at NUTS3 level where the final classification resulted in an upper-tier of eight ‘classes’, which were subsequently partitioned to derive a lower-tier of 31 ‘sub-classes’. A three-stage analysis of the eight-fold class configuration was then undertaken focusing on the distribution of climate risk classes, raising significant issues to inform climate change adaptation planning policy, practice and research. The analysis revealed an uneven distribution of climate change risk across the 33 countries covered by the typology, reinforcing the IPCC message that adapting and building resilience to climate change risk is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ exercise. In the second stage, the analysis focused on determining whether there was a difference in the climate change risk facing different settlement types in Europe. The analysis revealed the extent of variation in the climate change risk characteristics of Europe’s urban and rural areas, revealing the potential for peri-urban areas to fall between climate change risk agendas or priorities when compared to urban–rural contexts. The final component of our analysis considered the extent to which climate change risk classes exhibit patterns of spatial clustering. Here we found that climate change risk exhibits evidence of spatial clustering but the extent of the clustering varies between different classes as the relationship between contiguous NUTS3 regions changes. This finding has notable implications for transboundary adaptation planning where discontinuities in political buy-in, competition, resourcing and awareness of risk could serve to undermine the coherence and adequacy of policy responses at a time when greater cooperation and alignment is needed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102767
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Climate change adaptation
  • Cities
  • Regions
  • Europe
  • Climate change
  • Climate change risk


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