Executive summary

This report presents a policy tool for integrated assessment of an urban settlement’s resilience to climate change and peak oil. Climate change and peak oil represent significant risks to New Zealand settlements. For example Australian based research[1] predicts that peak oil could result in a 40% reduction in passenger and freight travel, significant increases in household expenditure and at least a three per cent decrease in national GDP. New Zealand has similar vulnerabilities to Australia in terms of import dependence on oil, low public transport use and low density urban form.

Proactive and rapid responses to climate change and peak oil are therefore critical to ensure New Zealand’s urban success and to protect those most vulnerable, including low income households. The assessment framework is designed for urban policy analysts and planners to help prioritize where policy response and further analysis is needed. The impact analysis, framework design and criteria for indicators are drawn from sustainable development and resilience literature.  Findings indicate that institutional and social resilience characteristics are critical building blocks for urban adaptation and need to be assessed alongside urban energy and climate change adaptations.

This policy report has been compiled by Claire Mortimer, graduate student, at the University of Auckland and is presented in an individual capacity not representing any organisation. The project was prepared in partial fulfillment for the requirements of a Masters in Public Policy at the Political Studies Department, University of Auckland.

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[1] CSIRO 2008 Fuel for thought; The future of transport fuels: challenges and opportunities. Future Fuels Forum.