generating planning intelligence regarding hazard risk and vulnerability of the local population 

Get Complete Project Material File(s) Now! »

Urban land use (spatial) planning theory for the integration of natural hazards /climate change adaptation

Land use planning infers the procedures and tools the local government employs to manage the use of land for the common benefit of the citizens (Richardson and Otero 2012, P.3 and Kaiser et al.1995), it officialises the role of the planner. And is an integral part of [spatial] planning (Chapin and Kaiser 1995). Land use planning for climate change adaptation which is concerned with anticipating and adapting to future problems rather than providing solutions to past problems (Godschalk et al. 1998), has been proven effective in addressing climate change related impacts (flooding) by helping communities achieve their goals with regards to reduction of flood risk and vulnerability in the built –up area and the environment (Kaiser et al.1995, Collins et al. 2005, Grannis 2011 and Berke & Stevens 2016).
Prior literature on the urban land use planning theory identified a series of steps involved in the integration of natural hazards and climate change adaptation into the land use planning process. By way of example, Kaiser et al. (1995), Collins et al. (2005), Caribbean Handbook on Risk Management (2016), Asian Development Bank (2016) and Godschalk et al. (1998). Moreover, Grannis (2011) developed an 18-land use tool kit through which adaptation measures to sea level rise and its impacts could be integrated into existing land use planning tools. Although the different studies specify varied number of steps involved in the integration process, in a large scale, they all use general steps. This study builds on the urban land use planning theory for natural hazard and climate change adaptation as proposed by Godschalk et al. (1998). This basis was selected for the following reasons: it is relatively general, as such, it could be applied to varying case areas and in addition, it could be used as guidelines for planners and policy makers while integrating natural hazard and climate change into land use planning, and in the development and implementation of adaptation policies for flood management.
In Godschalk et al. (1998) theory, they identified four steps which are essential for the integration of natural hazards and climate change adaptation into the urban land use planning process, which can be added to and related to through other literature. These four steps lay the basis for the development and implementation of natural hazard and climate change adaptation policies. Figure1 on page 12, presents a flowchart of these steps and they are further discussed below.

Generating planning intelligence regarding hazard risks and vulnerability of the local population

The purpose of this step is to identify the scale of the climate change related hazard or natural hazard to be addressed, and determine the experts whose skills will be needed to perform the duty (UK Planning Impacts and Risk (UKCIP) 2008 & Collins et al.2005). By generating planning intelligence, the vulnerable groups of a community are identified as well (Godschalk et al.1998). And making hazard risk and vulnerability information accessible to the citizens stimulates citizen’s participation in issues related to climate change and urban land use planning (Berke & Stevens 2016). Whittemore (2014) clarified that, citizens participate in building information fact by adding new information based on their everyday experiences (Whittemore 2014), which means involvement of citizens in land use issues indicate, decision making, goals and objectives settings as well as development and implementation of policies have been done in a democratic (Friedmann 1998) and communicative platform (Forester 1980) Per Arnstein (1969), there is still a social ladder and the citizens fall in the lowest level, which means sometimes public participation is more of routines and formality (Innes 1990).
Policy makers and other actors of the land use planning game use the planning intelligence to keep track of the trend of climate change related hazard, which is vital while developing objectives, goals and policies (Kaiser et al. al.1995). Therefore, the construction of an information based fact of hazard type and outcomes of the hazards as well as the exposure to risk and vulnerability is a vital step in the process (Berke &Stevens 2016). Construction of information based fact are generally done under two broad headings: collection of hazard data and collection of risk and vulnerability data (Asian Development Bank 2016). With regards to the collection of hazard data, emphasis is laid on the current and projected hazard, as well as the current and projected nature of the hazard. Such data are generally gathered from existing “Multihazard maps” and from local research institutes, scientists, researchers and private firms (Asian Development Bank 2016, p.30). Collins et al. (2005) showed that, additional hazard data obtained from local scientists and organisations were useful while building climate change intelligence with regards to sea level rise in Canada. And in the small community of Iqaluit, Canada, Richardson et al. (2012) found out that, local scientists and researcher’s data on hazard maps were useful while tracking the trend of flooding induced by sea level rise the last decade. On the other hand, gathering of hazard risk and vulnerability data focuses on the variables which might expose the citizens to further risk and vulnerability (Asian Development Bank 2016) and the expected outcomes (Berke &Stevens 2016), that is in terms of economic, social and environmental damages (Collins et al. 2005) the event might cause. The vulnerable groups of the community (which include: old persons, poor, children, pregnant women physically challenged persons and even those who cannot use the language of the region) are equally identified and specific climate change adaptation measures are developed and applied with regards to these groups (Godschalk et al.1998).
After the collection of hazard, risk and vulnerability data, the planner, then presents them in the form of hazard, risk and vulnerability maps, graphs and summary statistics tables. With the prevalence of computer technology within planning, geographic information system and remote sensing (Patro et al.2009) have been used to build maps and models to identify locations with high risk and vulnerability (Godschalk et al. 1998). In Canada, GIS maps were used to identify locations with are most exposed to risk and vulnerability with regards to the impacts of sea level rise. Bedford Basin in Halifax and the shores of Sambro Harbour-, NS were the identified hotspots (Kershner 2010). Collected data are also presented in simulation models, which present current and future prediction of the behaviour of the natural hazard, variables which might cause the hazard to occur, as well as the estimated damage the hazard could cause in specific locations (Kourgialas & Karatzas 2014). Examples of simulation models with regards to flooding include the hydrological model, which is a planning tool used to understand and predict the behaviour and movement of water. It shows low elevations which could be flooded during high sea level rise or tides and measures water pressure from the drainage system and sewerage. A variant of the hydrological model, is the hydraulic model MIKE11 and MIKE 21. Kourgialas & Karatzas (2014) used Mike 11 in the small Greek Island of Crete to estimate how the depth of water, discharge, and flow velocity could contribute in flood propensity.
Once data on hazard, risk and vulnerability are collected, it is the task of the planner to make the information accessible to the different actors of the land use game (Kaiser et al.1995). The media used is the comprehensive plan, the detail planning and protocols (Grannis 2011). In some cases, municipalities have developed climate change adaptation portal, municipality websites, workshops and focus groups to dissimilate information and stimulate public participation (Roggemma 2009). Grannis (2011), outlined that, development of a planning intelligence is not complete until the gathered information is dissimulated to the different actors of the land use planning game. The crucial function of the comprehensive plan in land use planning and water management as well as in decision making with regards to how land and water should be used and managed in the future, makes it paramount in the dissimilation process. Therefore, once the comprehensive plan considers climate change, it is an indication that, the municipality is ready to engage in the integration of natural hazard /climate change adaptation into land use planning process (Wong et al.2014).

Setting goals and objectives for reducing risk and vulnerability

The purpose of this step is to lay down the basis for the development of future policies, and programmes which could be implemented to reduce flood risk and flood vulnerability (Collins et al.2005). Planning goals and objectives are developed from the people’s desires and wishes to improve their living environment and quality of life, while taking into consideration the economic, environmental and social practical constraints (Kaiser et al.1995). This thus imply that; goals and objectives setting should be broad and flexible to permit changes which might occur due to the uncertainty of climate change impacts (Collins et al. 2005). Another implication is made based on the nature of climate change impacts- flooding, since the impact are location specific (Davidse et al.2015), that is vary from one area to the other, goals and objectives should be location specific as well (Caribbean Handbook on Risk Management 2016). Different goals and objectives should be developed depending on the behaviour of water discharge, height and flow of water in specific areas (Collins et al.2005). Since water levels are definitely different from one part of a region to another, depending on their goals, their proximity to other water sources which might influence their water inputs, goals and objectives to reduce flood risk and vulnerability in the built-up area and the environment have become more and more location specific (King et al.2013).
Examples of goals and objectives set to reduce or prevent the intrusion of floodwater into the built-up area could be: aim to build a robust and resilience community which is able to absorb flood events without the economy collapsing (Weichselgartner & Kelman 2014). To increase the community’s robustness, innovative climate change adaptation measures could be integrated in urban design and land forms as well as infrastructure(Lee 2014).Such goals and objectives would discourage new development in flood prone areas, that is development will be allowed inland on safe zones (Horowitz 2016) or encourage development in flood prone zones (Bray et al.1997 ) by increasing the adaptive capacity of the area through flood proofing individual homes(Horowitz 2016), imposing building codes and regulations (Lee 2014, & Lundqvist 2015). In Denmark, one of the goal and objective with regards to the integration of climate change adaptation into land use planning was to strengthen the coordination of climate change adaptation research activities between the national level, the local and other organisation who work with climate change related issues (Government of Denmark 2012).
Whereas goals and objectives set to reduce flood in king County Georgia, aimed to promote public awareness, improve preparedness by upgrading early flood and storm warning systems and emergency communications (King County Council 2015). In some cases, zoning ordinances are made and areas are classified according to their functions that is residential, commercial, or industrial. The idea of the zoning mapping is to identify parts of the community which are highly exposed to flood risk and vulnerability and to impose specific building codes and regulations in such areas (Kaiser et al.1995 & Horowitz 2016). In some cases, goals and objectives set have been influenced by a particular group of persons in the community (Bajracharya et al.2011), by way of example, in waterfront areas which are attractive locations for development, pressure put on the planners from politicians, the middle and high-income citizens (Frantzeskaki et al. 2014) have led to goals settings which encourage development in these locations although they are highly exposed to flood risk.

READ  Psychology’s contribution to community development 

Adopting policies and programs to achieve the goals and objectives

The purpose of this stage is to integrate natural hazard and climate change adaptation into existing policies, by way of example climate change adaptation policies could be integrated into the comprehensive plan through; planning tools, regulatory tools, spending tools and tax market, which are identified existing policies (Grannis 2011). To meet the set goals and objectives of the community, these polices are later enforced (Kaiser et al.1995). In some cases, new policies and programmes are enforced to march the current climate change reality of the community and to enable local government to effectively deal with adaption (Collins et al.2005). To enumerate, the old climate change and natural hazard polices in the local districts of Queensland, which treated climate change issues and planning as separate events, and made the development and implementation of climate change adaptation measures for flood management in these districts difficult. The local government opposed this system, which led to the implementation of the Sustainable Planning Act (2009), which treated climate change issues and spatial planning as integral parts. Therefore, a shift from the old Integrated Planning Act (1997) into Sustainable Planning Act (2009) facilitated the implementation of climate change adaptation measures in Queensland (Bajracharya et al.2011).
Existing policies and programmes for the reduction of flood risk and vulnerability due to sea level rise aim to; protect, accommodate, displace human population from areas which are heavily exposed to flood risk and vulnerability or even build outward into the waters –attack (Horowitz 2016). Bray et al. (1997), Klein et al. (1998), Few et al. (2007a) and Abel et al. (2011) outlined three main climate change adaptation strategies for flood management commonly used by coastal communities faced with Sea Level Rise (SLR): (1) protection, (2) accommodation and (3) retreat. A combination of the strategies could be applied in an area (Bray et al.1996), whereas (4) attack is a policy which is rapidly developing amid coastal communities (Roggemma 2009). The paragraphs below elaborate on these policies.(1) Protection(defence) policy, seeks to defend the built-up area from intrusion of floodwater (Horowitz 2016 and Bray et al.1997). It involves heavy engineering (Kim et al. 2012) and its methods are grouped into two distinctive categories “hard” and “soft” (Lee 2014). It is implemented through existing arrangement which could be between the national level and the local level or the planner and other actors in the urban land use game (Bray et al.1997).
(a) Hard protection measures are the most used by planners and policy makers (Klein et al. 1998). They include: building of dykes, breakwaters, construction of tidal walls (Bray et al.1997), embankments, permanent structures (Lee 2014) such as floodgates, which are built in the form of flexible barrier. Floodgates more or less create space for water (Horowitz 2016). This infers, as water level rises, they redirect excess water to the right source which might be open space created for the purpose such as: water storage areas or retention ponds (Sköld et al.2015). Although the hard methods are efficient in reducing flood risk and vulnerability, there is the issue of environmental consideration, which allowing to Lee (2014) & Horowitz 2016) is the least environmental friendly method, as it damages the marine ecosystem. Aesthetic considerations matter as well (Bray et al. 1997). Although there is an urgent need to reduce risk and vulnerability, there is equally the need to encourage sea view, hence embankment, be it permanent or temporal must be adjusted to the area it is constructed so it does not block sea view of the occupants (Ford & Ford 2011).


In 2007, the Swedish Commission on climate and Vulnerability made an investigation on climate change impacts and risks in the Swedish society. In a nutshell, the investigation outlined that, average temperature all over the country is expected to increase and winters will be warmer. Increase in precipitation will be witnessed during the autumn, winter and spring. Furthermore, rainfall and runoff will increase. Although no clear trend was made with regards to the speed and strength of winds and storms, there are high chances that they will increase. Sea levels on the other hand are expected to rise by anything around 0.2 metres. As these climatic variables increase, the frequency and occurrence of flood as well as flood risk will be heightened around the valley of the Göta Älv River, eastern Svealand, Lake Vänern and most of the east coast. Increase in lakeside living will increase flood vulnerability exposing both buildings and infrastructures to flood damage. On the other hand, climate change will increase agricultural productivity in the country, hydropower production and forestry. Aside, a warmer climate will increase pests, insects, and fungus and cause health problems for the elderly. Therefore, to take advantage of the positive sides of climate change, the commission recommends the integration of climate change adaptation into spatial planning (Swedish Commission on Climate and Vulnerability 2007(SOU 2007).

Actors of climate change adaptation (Sweden)

The task of climate change adaptation in Sweden is shared across all levels of governments that is: the national, local and regional levels. And the national climate change strategy is concerned with economic and regulatory measures (Lundqvist 2015). At the local level, Swedish municipalities are responsible for the development and enforcement of climate change adaptation strategies as well as other natural crises- flooding inclusive (MSB 2009). This implies the practical application of climate change adaptation is conducted in the local level and involves local authorities, individuals, private firms and businesses as well as international organisations (Johansson & Mobjörk 2009). However, local climate change adaptation policies and strategies should fall in line with those of the national level and in accordance with the legislation- Planning and Building Act (PBL). Besides, Swedish municipalities have the municipal monopoly which allows them to act and make decisions which they consider will be beneficial for the development of their community (Cullberg et al.2014). Furthermore, the central government agencies work in collaboration with the local governments. Their functions are operational and in a broad sense they are responsible for the provision of necessary information with regards to climatic parameters such as: measurements and forecasts as well as funding. They could be therefore perceived as the providers of the regulatory frameworks (Johansson & Mobjörk 2009). Examples of the central government agencies are: the Swedish Geotechnical Institute (SGI), the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) who provide the local governments with relevant information on climate change and other natural hazards. Moreover, enforcement of climate change adaptation for flood management in Sweden has been done under the Planning and Building Act (PBL) and at the municipal level, this has been translated in the physical planning and strengthened by the municipality monopoly (Cullberg et al.2014).

Background: Gothenburg

With a population of more than 500,000 inhabitants, Gothenburg is the second largest city of Sweden. It has a population density of 1,200 persons/km2 and covers a surface area of 722 km2, of which 271 km2 is water. The city lies in the mouth of the Göta River which has a catchment of 50,000 km2.The three tributaries of the Göta River: “Säveån”, “Mölndalsån” and “Lärjeån”, flow into the city (Irannezhad 2009) which exposes it to flood risk induced by rising water levels. Extreme weather conditions induced by climate change as well as the soil type (mostly clay) of the region are also a cause for heightening flood risk (Hjerpe & Glaas 2012), whereas concentration of buildings and population along the water courses is increasing flood vulnerability (Moback 2014). Map1 (a) on page21 shows the geographic location of the city of Gothenburg in Sweden and map1 (b) shows the limit of the Göta River catchment and its three tributaries. Aside the impacts of climate change, the sewage system triggers flooding in the area (Göteborg Stad 2007).

Table of contents :

1.1 Aim And Research Questions
2.1 Data Collection
2.1.1 Analysis of Data
3.1 The urban land use planning theory for the integration of natural hazard /climate change adaptation
3.1.1 Previous Research Significance of Study
4.1 Actors of Climate Change Adaptation(Sweden)
4.1.1 Background: Gothenburg
5.1 Section One
(i)generating planning intelligence regarding hazard risk and vulnerability of the local population
(ii) setting goals and objectives for reducing risk and vulnerability
5.2 Section Two
(iii) adopting policies and programs to achieve the goals and objectives
(iv) monitoring and evaluating the results, making revision to policies and programmes over time as necessary
6.1Suggestions for further research
6.1.1Policy implications


Related Posts