Probably the most urgent problem of this century is the change the climate on earth will undergo. Therefore it is of the highest importance to reduce human impact on these emerging changes. Mitigation of climate change should stay high on the political agendas for the rest of the century. However, despite all efforts to minimise the changes in climate, the world needs to adapt to the upcoming changes as well. This adaptation to climate change is necessary to prevent societies from disasters and disruption. The most important field where adaptation can be realised is the spatial lay out of the area. Spatial adaptations are from all times. Therefore, theoretically, it must be easy to adjust the spatial planning practice and make it ready for the required climate change adaptations. However, in spatial planning practice of today the focus lies on facilitating economic developments like agriculture, infrastructure, living areas and enterprises as well as creating the necessary space for water management and nature. Because the attention lies on these aspects, there are not many good examples of climate proof spatial lay out. Spatial designs and planning needs to orientate its adaptation on the one hand side on the incorporation of the spatial consequences of climate change and on the other hand on those spatial measurements, which are minimising climate change, i.e. the spatial requirements of local energy production. The most important issues to incorporate in the spatial lay out of areas contain the way the coast is defended, how the lay out of the water system is organised, how the space is created for the production of energy, in which way the ecological structures can survive and the way how the urban areas are capable to adapt to higher temperatures and periodically large amounts of rain water. These aspects, when integrated in a spatial design, are capable of making a society more resilient for future long-term changes. In order to do so the aspects do not on need to be integrated in spatial designs, but they are also need to create the specific spatial interventions that will ensure an adaptation of the society on the long term. Today's spatial planning system is mostly short term oriented and is therefore not capable of anticipating on long-term developments. Thus, not only the individual thematic issues require adaptation to climate change, the planning practice does as well. If the planning system is optimised for adaptation, i.e. long-term oriented, integrated and area specific, a new planning paradigm will emerge. The characteristics of this new paradigm are a focus of planning on strategic interventions and measures, which start developments that result in desired future instead of defining an end-image of the far future.
Create Space for Climate!
Abstract The predictions on climate change are more than once overtaken by reality. Climate change seems to accelerate: sooner, faster, stronger. This means that the uncertainties on future changes are large. What is agreed on is the fact that even if the World succeeds in minimising CO2 emissions of today, the effects of the changes will continue to affect communities, ecologies and economies all over the world. Therefore, one way or another adaptation of societies to the changes is necessary. Because of the regular surprises in the pace of climate change, and always at the top-line of predicted scenarios, the question is if mankind is aware of the urgency to adapt. Probably the best strategy is to be prepared in a worse case scenario and organise land-use and spatial functions in a way that they are capable of withstanding big changes. This requires transformation of climate change knowledge into spatial planning. Many countries, of which the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Spain, Denmark, Japan and Finland are analysed, have developed an adaptation strategy, but only few of them incorporate the field of spatial planning in it. The focus on
Reviewed by Prof. Dr. Pavel Kabat, Wageningen University and Research Centre, Earth System Sciences, the Netherlands
R. Roggema, Adaptation to Climate Change: A Spatial Challenge,
DOI 10.1007/978-1-4020-9359-3_1, © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009
adaptation as a part of regular policies is creating a cloud curtain for the real urgencies. A shift is necessary towards using knowledge on the adaptation to climate change in spatial projects, programmes and plans. The role spatial planning can play in creating a more resilient society is underestimated.
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