There is widespread acknowledgment that climate change is happening now and is set to intensify. While mitigation efforts are essential for limiting the future extent of climate change, greenhouse gases have a delayed impact on the climate system and even if emissions ceased tomorrow there are decades of climate change already locked into the system. Therefore, adaptation to climate change impacts is crucial. Urban areas face particular challenges due to their high population density, which puts large numbers of people at risk of climate impacts. Responding to the threats associated with climate change and intensified by the character of urban areas, such as heat waves or floods, is therefore vital to create sustainable cities for the future. In order to enable targeted adaptation responses, an assessment of climate change hazards and the vulnerability of urban areas should be undertaken. This paper reports on ongoing research carried out by the University of Manchester within the Eco Cities project (2008-2011). The overall aim of the project is to provide a ‘blueprint’ for an integrated climate change adaptation strategy for the conurbation of Greater Manchester (UK). This will be based on the analysis of climate change scenarios, assessment of vulnerability of the urban system and the proposal of adaptation responses. The blueprint will enable relevant stakeholders in Greater Manchester to take a longer term view of climate change adaptation, which is planned rather than reactive. The focus of this paper is on social vulnerability to climate change. Climate change will exacerbate current climate variability and extreme weather events. Past extreme weather events that occurred in Greater Manchester over two time periods, 1947-1997 and 1998-2008, were investigated through analysis of reports in local media and weather station records, and through a review of the relevant literature. The type (extreme precipitation, heat, cold and storm), location and severity of the weather events were recorded and analysed. Analysis has begun on assessing the vulnerability of communities living in Greater Manchester to climate change impacts. This includes analysis of a number of indicators of social vulnerability, chosen through discussion with stakeholders such as local emergency planners. Indicators include aspects relating to vulnerability in the case of emergency as well as the potential ability of people to recover after events such as floods. A geospatial assessment is used as the basis of the methodology to analyse vulnerability and climate hazards such as flood risk zones and the urban heat island effect. The results of the local climate impacts profile suggest that nearly half of the extreme weather-related events in Greater Manchester resulted from precipitation causing flooding and it is evident that surface water flooding is now more prevalent than riverine flooding. However, one of the most severe impacts on the human health in Greater Manchester has been recognised as heat waves. Consequently, flooding and high temperatures have been identified as the most urgent climate change hazards that the conurbation needs to adapt to. Preliminary results of the geospatial analysis of vulnerable communities and climate hazards have identified that a significant proportion of Greater Manchester’s population is exposed to climate change related hazards and that many of these people are at significant risk due to their personal characteristics or degree of exposure. The mapping exercise has helped to identify the priority areas for adaptation actions. This work will be taken further by analysis of climate change projections for Greater Manchester to estimate potential future vulnerability and analysis of biophysical characteristics of the areas at risk, such as presence of vegetation and permeable surfaces, which may reduce the severity of climate change impacts.