Adaptive Urban Planning in Response to a Changing Climate

Climate change can be seen all over the world. In the Nordic countries, we have experienced warmer winters, stronger storms and greater precipitation, especially heavier rainfalls. Management of, and planning for, larger quantities of water, as well as adaptation of our territorial structures to climate changes are on everybody’s agenda.

This Working Paper reflects a Nordic seminar, Adaptive Urban Planning Challenged by Changing Climate (Stadsplaneringens utmaningar i ett förändrat klimat), hosted by Nordregio in Stockholm on June, 8, 2011. The seminar was initiated by the Working Group for exchange of experience and knowledge development (Urban Policies) under the Nordic Council of Ministers.

The purpose of the seminar was to create dialogue among Nordic practitioners responsible for physical planning and adaptation to climate change at different administrative levels. Further, the aim was to share knowledge among the Nordic countries concerning challenges and needs for new planning instruments at the local, regional and national level.

The main message from the seminar, presented in this Nordregio Working Paper, is that planning for adaptation to larger precipitation calls for cooperation of authorities within the drainage area. In many cases, climate adaptation concerns a geographical area different from the one delimited by the borders of municipalities or regions. Thus, cooperation in planning across the boundaries of municipalities is needed, as is cooperation between relevant municipal and regional authorities. The geography of the solutions should match the geography of the challenges.

Cooperation also involves different levels of government. Coordination between local, regional and national policies is often necessary and should be done, respecting the tasks and duties of the various levels. The Working Group for exchange of experience and knowledge development (Urban Policies) recommends all stakeholders to consider how such processes of cooperation could be promoted.