Civil and Natural Resources Engineering University of Canterbury Christchurch

Mitchell Anderson

PhD Candidate

University of Canterbury

Co-Advisors: Dr Lindsey Conrow, Dr Matthew Hobbs.

Climate Adaptation and Resilient Communities: A systems approach to enhancing local climate risk assessments through the identification of indirect impacts

Mitchell’s research looks to enhance quantitative and geospatial methodologies that can help communities and decision-makers better understand risk from natural and climate-related hazards.

Understanding the risk from climate change is critical for a region to effectively adapt and prepare for the future. However, communities worldwide are currently not equipped with the tools required to assess the risk from climate change. The urgency at which climate change adaptation must occur is ever-increasing with many local governments and agencies now required by law to provide evidence of risk assessments or adaptation planning.

Additionally, the scale of both allocated adaptation funding and adaptation success is directly related to how well the risks are understood, which at a local scale requires a rigorous geospatial risk assessment. However, existing guidance on understanding climate risks does not give sufficient insight into spatial approaches which limits practitioners to a high-level screening. Therefore, to adequately prepare and adapt our communities to climate change we must enhance the current state of risk assessment methodologies, tools, and guidance.

To do this Michell is looking at the following reviews and advancements:

  • A critical review of local climate risk assessments
  • An evaluation of indirect impacts on community capabilities caused by transportation network disruptions and essential service closure
  • An analysis of interdependent infrastructure failure to understand cascading impacts from the built environment on communities
  • An integration of this new understanding with existing techniques and associated advances in risk and resilience science to develop and conduct a rigorous local climate geospatial risk assessment in Christchurch, New Zealand.


  1. 2021-2024


    University of Canterbury

Professional Experience

  1. 2021-
    Managing Director
    Urban Intelligence