Critical infrastructure is essential for the economy and society. Damage or disruptions to critical infrastructures could have cascading effects across communities with immeasurable costs. However, past experience shows that urban network infrastructures, such as transportation and wastewater infrastructures, are vulnerable to extreme weather events. This would be most likely to increase with the projected climate change. Sea level rise, in particular, poses significant threats to coastal critical infrastructure. At the same time, socio-technical changes such as decentralization, market liberalization, and technology advancement provide new opportunities and alternatives for the existing critical infrastructure systems. For instance, many small-scale alternatives, decentralized infrastructures (e.g. wastewater, energy, water) have been developed as an alternative or complement to the existing system. How would these trends affect the vulnerability of critical infrastructure to climate change? Under what condition could these efforts contribute to reducing the system vulnerability and ultimately building urban resilience?

This chapter explores critical infrastructure’s vulnerability to climate change and its relevance to urban resilience with a consideration of these socio-technical alternatives and constraints. It first reviews the potential impacts of climate change. Then key factors influencing urban network infrastructure’s vulnerability to disruptions and climatic hazards, in particular, are identified. By examining current transformation trend in urban infrastructure sectors, it discusses the effectiveness and limitations of critical infrastructure’s ability to adapt to climate change, the institutional and social constraints of potential adaptation, and the long-term impacts of such transformation on urban resilience.