Principal uses of the Typology

The main uses of the typology are:

Awareness raising:

Using the online portal, the typology and supporting indicators can help to visualise, communicate and raise awareness of climate risk amongst different stakeholder groups. Applied in this way, the typology could be used in the early stages of an adaptation planning process to generate commitment for adaptation and resilience action.


The typology can be used to describe and enhance understanding of the climate risk characteristics, relating to hazard, exposure, vulnerability and adaptive capacity, of European cities and NUTS3 regions. The classes and sub-classes, and supporting indicator diagrams, provide users with a brief description of the underlying climate risk characteristics of their city or region. These characteristics can be explored in greater detail via the climate risk indicators. The maps within the typology online portal enable the visualisation of climate risk classes and sub-classes allowing a strategic perspective on spatial patterns of climate risk to be taken. Thus the typology provides an overview of Europe’s climate risk landscape.

Risk assessment:

Looking beyond its high level descriptive function, the typology and particularly the supporting climate risk indicators could be used to inform climate change risk assessments.

Strategy and plan development:

The typology can support the development of climate change adaptation and resilience strategies and plans. The typology output and the underlying indicators can help to guide decisions on particular climate risk themes that could be usefully investigated in more detail (e.g. related to prominent hazard, exposure or vulnerability themes). This may be particularly helpful where capacity and resources to support urban adaptation and resilience activity are limited as the typology can help to target resources to particular areas of need or opportunity. However, it is important to note that the typology should not be used to take adaptation and resilience decisions, and should be viewed as one tool that can support this process.


The typology provides a ‘snapshot’ of climate risk in European NUTS3 regions based on the climate and socio-economic indicator data available at the time of its development. The indicators underpinning the typology are dynamic, and the indicator values will evolve over time influenced by factors including socio-economic change and improvements in research techniques. The risk ‘snapshot’ (or baseline) produced within the RESIN project therefore provides the opportunity to assess changes in climate risk across the European landscape over time.

Network development:

The typology groups European cities and NUTS3 regions together according to their climate risk characteristics, as defined through the indicators used to develop the typology. Cities and NUTS3 regions that fall into the same class, or sub-class, share similar climate risk characteristics. The typology can therefore be used to help develop peer-to-peer networks between areas that face similar risk profiles in order to encourage sharing of learning, experience and practice.

Potential Typology Users

The following groups have the potential to benefit from using the typology:

Regional, national and European planners and decision-makers:

Given that the typology operates at the scale of NUTS3 regions, it provides a strategic perspective of European, national and regional climate risk ‘landscapes’. It therefore has a role to play informing adaptation and resilience strategy, planning and decision making at larger spatial scales. European and global level organisations including the European Commission, European Environment Agency and Global Covenant of Mayors, as well as national and regional agencies and governing bodies all have the potential to benefit from the typology as they progress their adaptation and resilience objectives.

Urban planners and decision makers:

Cities and urban areas are increasingly developing climate change adaptation and resilience strategies, driven by legislation or previous experience of extreme weather events. The typology is of value to urban decision makers who are looking to better understand and/or develop responses to reduce extreme weather and climate risk. For signatories to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, it can assist the preparation of the required 'Risk and Vulnerability Assessment' which is subsequently used to inform a 'Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan'.

Other potential users:

Although the RESIN project has focused particularly on cities, and this is the scale that adaptation and resilience strategies and actions are currently most prominent, peri-urban and rural regions are also facing climate risks. Given that the typology output and the indicator data cover the whole of Europe, it can also support adaptation and resilience strategy and action in peri-urban and rural regions. In addition, the typology can assist researchers and students working in this field as it provides a new way of visualising and analysing climate risk in Europe. It also demonstrates methodological developments related to the creation and use of climate risk indicators at the European scale. Further, other stakeholders including infrastructure providers, insurance brokers and consultants may also benefit from the typology and the data and insights that it contains.

Typology Caveats

There are caveats associated with the use of the typology to support adaptation planning to acknowledge.

Spatial scale:

The typology indicators relate to the NUTS3 scale. A single NUTS3 region may cover part of a densely populated city, or a much larger area where urban settlements are more widely dispersed. The typology indicators can be particularly useful where the adaptation planning process is focused at larger spatial scales (e.g. cities, regions). Here, the typology indicators can inform a strategic screening process to determine which climate threats need to be investigated in more detail as part of a wider adaptation planning process.

Indicator gaps:

The typology indicators were developed for a particular function; to create a typology using a cluster analysis method that groups European cities and NUTS3 regions into classes and sub-classes that share similar climate risk characteristics. It was not possible to gather or develop indicator data to incorporate within the typology on all aspects of climate risk due to issues of data quality, access and availability. As a result, issues that are potentially important in determining climate risk are not covered within the typology indicator set. For example, indicators on the exposure of people and infrastructure to heat stress are not provided. Further, indicators covering themes including governance approaches and cultural attitudes are not represented, yet will have important implications for climate risk and related responses. This highlights that although the indicators available within the typology online portal can usefully support climate risk assessment and response, they should not be relied upon exclusively.

Outlier cities and NUTS3 regions:

The typology classes will usefully explain the climate risk characteristics of the majority of NUTS3 regions that fall within them. However, there will always be outliers that do not immediately appear to fit in. Here, the typology sub-classes are helpful as they further distinguish NUTS3 regions in terms of their underlying climate risk characteristics, although there may also be outliers at this scale of the typology.

Use Case 1

Supporting the Adaptation Planning Process

The European Climate Risk Typology functions as a risk-based tool that can inform climate change adaptation planning processes. The typology has a particular role to play in situations where larger scale city-wide adaptation plans are being developed, and where data on climate risk indicators is currently limited and can therefore be supported by the typology. Specific elements of the adaptation planning process that the typology can support include:

The indicator data available within the typology online portal provides planners with information on climate-related hazards and the threat of and exposure to these hazards, and also future climate change projections in their city or NUTS3 region of interest. This data can inform climate change risk assessments.

The typology online portal also incorporates data on a series of vulnerability indicators, covering sensitivity and adaptive capacity themes. This data can also assist users in completing climate change risk assessments.

The typology may be able to support the selection of adaptation options to reduce identified climate risks in some cases, particularly where the focus is at larger spatial scales (e.g. cities). For example, the typology indicators can provide a first indication of exposure and vulnerability themes to focus adaptation options on.

Typology users can identify cities and regions that share similar climate risk characteristics to their own via looking at the typology classes and sub-classes. When developing adaptation plans these insights provide planners with the opportunity to look at measures included in plans developed in similar contexts.

Use Case 2

Preparing a Risk and Vulnerability Assessment for the Covenant of Mayors

Signatories to the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy are required to prepare a Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (RVA) for their cities which should then inform the development of a Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP). The RVA is an analysis that determines the nature and extent of climate risk by analysing potential hazards and assessing vulnerabilities. Signatories are also required to summarise their risk profile in their adaptation reporting template.

The European Climate Risk Typology can help signatories develop their RVA and the risk profile. Using the online portal, RVA developers can:

Select the city or NUTS 3 region(s) of interest.

View the indicator profile of the city/NUTS 3 region. The indicator data can be explored using the data tables, which are separated into hazards, exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity. Users can also explore the indicators via the indicator diagram for the relevant class and sub-class. The data tables and indicator diagrams can increase understanding of key climate risk themes of concern.

The indicator data contained within the typology online portal provides detailed information on climate change hazards and vulnerabilities, both current and anticipated. Data such as this could be helpful for completing the reporting template in its section on climate change risk and vulnerability, which is subsequently used to develop the detailed action plan, the SECAP. For example, the indicators on projected change in heatwave days and maximum temperature can be used to assess current and anticipated risk of extreme heat hazard. Similarly, sensitivity and adaptive capacity indicators can be used to inform the reporting template which requests data on socio-economic, physical and environmental vulnerabilities and related indicators. The typology online portal includes relevant indicators that can be used to complement the indicators already included in the reporting template, for example such related to demographics and urban land use All of the typology indicators have a z-score for each city and NUTS 3 region, which can be visualised via maps and histograms. This function enables users to determine how their area of interest sits in a wider European context, for example, whether projected changes in the number of heatwave days are above, below or around the European average.

Since the typology allows identifying cities and regions with similar risk characteristics, Covenant signatories and coordinators can make use of it to find other cities and regions/provinces with a similar profile. Through the detailed information provided on individual signatories and coordinators on the Covenant of Mayors website, they can find inspiration from RVAs and Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans of cities with similar risk characteristics, and get in direct contact for more detailed exchange.

In addition to the European Climate Risk Typology, there are other outputs from the RESIN project that can support Covenant of Mayors signatories including the IVAVIA tool, Adaptation Options Library and e-Guide.

These resources can be accessed here .

Use Case 3

Development of city and regional climate risk networks

Building city and regional networks for knowledge exchange and learning is an essential part of addressing climate risks and developing adaptation strategies. The typology supports this work by offering a unique classification of European cities and NUTS 3 regions based on their climate risk characteristics. This helps users to identify cities and regions that might be geographically distant but are nevertheless dealing with similar climate change hazards and degrees of exposure to these hazards, whilst they also have common vulnerability features based on their climate change sensitivity and adaptive capacity. The typology can therefore be a departure point for networking, sharing knowledge and experiences and learning from good practice.

Decision-makers can:

Select a city or NUTS 3 region of interest and, using the map within the online portal, identify others that sit within the same class and sub-class and therefore have similar climate risk characteristics.

Understand common climate risk characteristics shared with other cities and NUTS 3 regions falling within the same class and sub-class by looking at the indicator diagrams.

Learn more about the indicators that are key to climate risk, and their spatial patterns across Europe, by looking at the indicator descriptions and maps available within the online portal.

Use this information for further research and to develop contacts to share good practices and experiences. This function of the typology may also aid the development of twining programmes and the development of funding proposals.