The Role of Spatial Planning

Spatial planning can be a very powerful tool to spatially shape climate proof regions. In the formal regional planning, with a time horizon of ten years is not the most suitable tool to realise this. On the one hand side the reason for this is that climate change is a problem, which develops over decennia or a century and for these kind of planning periods there are no formal instruments. The other aspect is that formal regional planning only influences new developments and is capable of changing functions in only these areas. The rest of the landscape and built up areas are not easy to change and the same function will stay there unless new developments are introduced. Instead, long term planning needs to be developed, in which the rough contours for the developments in a certain region are given. The document and maps that are drawn in this planning tool need to be sticky: they are very communicative and if an image is seen once it sticks in your mind forever.

In the process of adaptation to climate change the role of regional spatial planning is important but limited. It gives directions for the future on a number of themes that are relevant at a regional scale. Adaptation in health, functional shifts in crops, adaptation in buildings to name e few are not regulated within the scope of regional spatial planning. The streamlining of adaptation and regional spatial planning is a matter of selection and a full integration. Those themes and aspects of adaptation (probably water, ecology, agriculture, urban settlements), which are relevant on a regional scale, need to be selected and fully integrated in the regular planning processes. Besides this, it is advisable to develop a planning tool, which aims at the longer term of 50-100 years. This tool should contain its own characteristics of communication and regulation.

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