Climate change may be seen as the largest economic, political, developmental and environmental challenge the world has ever faced. IPCC reports have shown that human activities are altering the atmosphere, and that it is crucial now for decision-makers at all levels to take urgent action.

At the same time, urbanization is creating a growing challenge for cities and urban population centers both as engines of economic activity and as sources of greenhouse gas emissions. The way in which we build and operate cities strongly affects energy use and emissions. For example, the so-called ‘urban heat island effect’ affects energy use for space conditioning and greenhouse gas emissions, whereas simple measures can be applied to control this effect. Cities are also vulnerable to climate change, since many are located in coastal areas or depend on imported resources such as water and food. Many cities are at the forefront of initiatives for mitigating and adapting to climate change and try to develop creative solutions.

The upcoming SENSE Symposium ‘Climate Proofing Cities’ provides a major opportunity to discuss key developments for cities in the climate debate with an inspiring international audience. The one-day 2009 SENSE Symposium is organized in close cooperation with the three-day 2009 Amsterdam Conference on the ‘Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change’, which will take place in the same location on 2-4 December 2009 (for more information, see The back-to-back organization of these two international meetings allows participation in both events.