Towards a Spatial Planning Framework for Climate Adaptation

  • Rob RoggemaEmail author
Part of the Springer Theses book series (Springer Theses)


Scientific literature on climate adaptation has mainly dealt with definition studies. Some of these studies aim to clarify and define terms such as vulnerability, resilience or adaptive capacity (e.g. Folke et al., Ecology and Society, 15:20, 2010; Walker et al., Ecology and Society, 9:5, 2004; Walker and Salt, Resilience Thinking, 2006; Adger et al., Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007). Another group of scholars studied uncertainty and climate change adaptation (e.g. Dessai and Hulme, Global Environmental Change, 17:59, 2007; Dessai and Van der Sluijs, Uncertainty and Climate Change Adaptation—A Scoping Study, 2007; Kabat, Should the uncertainty in climate scenarios limit adaptation? 2008; Mearns, Climatic Change 100:77, 2010; Meyer, Climatic Change, 2011). Others focused on specific hazards and assessed their risks (e.g. Jones, Natural Hazards, 23:197, 2001; Handmer, Climate Change, Adaptive Capacity and Development, 2003; Downing et al., Climate, Change and Risk, 1999; Beer, World Resources Review, 9:113, 1997). Finally, a share of scientific papers focused on governance and ways to respond to the impacts of climate change (e.g. Adger et al., Adapting to Climate Change: Thresholds, Values, Governance, 2009; Olsson et al., Ecology and Society, 11:18, 2006). Only a limited number of research projects focus on spatial planning for climate adaptation. It is illustrative that ‘the Earthscan reader on Adaptation to Climate Change’ (Schipper and Burton, 2009) fails to include a chapter on spatial planning. Even ‘Planning for Climate Change’ (Davoudi et al., 2009], a major work taking planning as the major theme mainly focuses on processes, policies and specific topics, such as transport. The predominant part of this book focuses on mitigation; only a few pieces cover spatial planning, urban form or urban design. With the exception of Wilson (Planning for Climate Change; Strategies for Mitigation and Adaptation for Spatial Planners, 2009), these parts are mainly oriented on cities and urban areas. So far, there is only one book that specifically positions climate adaptation as a challenge for spatial planning (Roggema, Adaptation to climate Change: A Spatial Challenge, 2009).


Spatial planning framework Complex adaptive systems Layer approach Climate adaptation Wicked problems 



This research was made possible by the contribution of the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Affairs and the Environment and by support of the Dutch ‘Climate Changes Spatial Planning’ programme.

We would also like to acknowledge the four anonymous reviewers, who have been reviewing our article extensively and hence contributed to the quality of our final work.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of ArchitectureDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands

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