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Climate Vulnerability Index

The Burien City Council adopted its first Climate Action Plan in 2021. That plan, guided by community voice and regional efforts, provides a blueprint for our community to build a city more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

How vulnerable are Burien’s residents and ecosystems to the effects of climate change?

This year, the City of Burien planning team began to examine Burien’s vulnerability to climate change. This work resulted in the Burien Climate Vulnerability Index, a tool that will guide investments in infrastructure, land use planning, zoning, urban tree planning, and parks and green space investments and help visualize which Burien neighborhoods are more vulnerable to climate change.

An index is a calculation used to summarize multiple sets of data into one measurement and allows for an “apples-to-apples” comparison of different data. The index defines climate vulnerability as the combination of exposure to a changing climate, the inherent sensitivity of people or environments to a changing climate, and the capacity of the community and place to cope with the impacts of a changing climate. The index adds over 30 indicators of climate vulnerability and identifies which census block groups are more or less vulnerable to extreme heat or extreme precipitation, relative to other areas in Burien. The index can also help identify relative “hot spots” of vulnerability, which helps us understand why some areas may be more or less vulnerable. It also supports a planning-level view of vulnerability that is important for the development of an appropriate policy response.

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