The Importance of Climate Change Education in Urban Planning: A Review of Planning Courses at UK Universities

  • Alice Preston-Jones
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


Climate change is affecting communities and environments across the world. If immediate, concerted effort is not made to reduce levels of greenhouse gas emissions, the effects could be catastrophic. Urban areas are the primary contributors of greenhouse gases, yet they are also likely to be most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The need to adapt is extremely important. Urban planners have a unique responsibility in shaping the built environment and as such create solutions to the climate change challenge. A lack of integration of climate change knowledge and planning has been highlighted by academics and global policy makers, and the sufficiency of climate change-related teaching in planning education has been questioned. This paper evaluates the prevalence of climate change-related teaching in urban planning courses in universities across the UK. Topic by topic analysis is carried out to highlight key teaching gaps. It is argued that, due to planners’ central responsibility in addressing the climate change challenge, it is paramount that climate change education is integrated into all courses. Discourses around interdisciplinary collaboration and globally-focused planning education are considered as potential solutions to the lack of climate change-related teaching. The results of this paper emphasise a need for immediate reform of University curricula to ensure future planning graduates have adequate knowledge to address future urban climate change challenges.


Urban planning Education Universities Climate change Adaptation Mitigation 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alice Preston-Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.SheffieldUK

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