Logo of the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency
To the main menuTo the main content

Cities: flood-risk hotspots

Infographic | 15-04-2018

By 2050, 70% of the world population is projected to live in an urban environment, and the 600 major cities in the world are expected to provide 60% of global GDP. Between now and 2050, the economic damage and the number of people potentially exposed to flooding will increase, especially in the rapidly growing cities in the developing countries.

Large cities are found along rivers, in deltas and along the coast. Concentrations of population and economic value in coastal zones and deltas increase not only the short-term flood risks, but also the long-term vulnerability with respect to sea level rise and storm surges. This will require continued protection efforts. The required protection will depend on population and economic developments in flood-prone areas, and developments in peak river flows, sea level rise and storm surge patterns.

In many cities, especially in developing countries, the inhabitants of informal settlements make up more than 50% of the urban population. Water- and climate-related disasters disproportionately affect people living in informal settlements.

Source data

Dassen, T., L. Bijlsma, L. Pols, F. van Rijn & M. van Schie (2017), The New Urban Agenda. Opportunities for inclusive and green urbanisation. The Hague: PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency

Patankar, A. (2015), The Exposure, Vulnerability, and Ability to Respond of Poor Households to Recurrent Floods in Mumbai. World Bank Group

Ward, P.J., B. Jongman, F.S. Weiland, A. Bouwman, R. van Beek, M.F.P. Bierkens, W. Ligtvoet & H.C. Winsemius (2013), ‘Assessing flood risk at the global scale: model setup, results, and sensitivity’, Environmental Research Letters 8(4), 44019, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/4/044019

Use of infographics

Unless stated otherwise, the Creative Commons (BY) licence applies to this infographic. For more information on this licence or the use of this infographic, please contact our graphics department (beeldredactie@pbl.nl).