Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 909–918 | Cite as

Climate proofing the Zuidplaspolder: a guiding model approach to climate adaptation

  • M. A. M. de Groot-Reichwein
  • H. Goosen
  • M. G. N. van Steekelenburg
Original Article


Climate change will have an impact on various sectors, such as housing, infrastructure, recreation and agriculture. Climate change may change spatial demands. For example, rising temperatures will increase the need for recreation areas, and areas could be assigned for water storage. There is a growing sense that, especially at the local scale, spatial planning has a key role in addressing the causes and impacts of climate change. This paper promotes an approach to help translate information on climate change impacts into a guiding model for adaptive spatial planning. We describe how guiding models can be used in designing integrated adaptation strategies. The concept of guiding models has been developed in the 1990s by Tjallingii to translate the principles of integrated water management in urban planning. We have integrated information about the present and future climate change and set up a climate adaptation guiding model approach. Making use of climate adaptation guiding models, spatial planners should be able to better cope with complexities of climate change impacts and be able to translate these to implications for spatial planning. The climate adaptation guiding model approach was first applied in the Zuidplaspolder case study, one of the first major attempts in the Netherlands to develop and implement an integrated adaptation strategy. This paper demonstrates how the construction of climate adaptation guiding models requires a participatory approach and how the use of climate adaptation guiding models can contribute to the information needs of spatial planners at the local scale, leading to an increasing sense of urgency and integrated adaptation planning process.


Climate change Adaptation Spatial planning Guiding models Participative approach 



The research was performed by Xplorelab, a laboratory for innovative learning and working established in 2007 as a unit within the council’s Green Space, Water and Environment division of the province of South Holland. The project was funded by the Dutch National Research Program “Climate changes Spatial Planning”. We would like to thank all the consortium partners involved. The comments by two anonymous reviewers were also gratefully received.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. A. M. de Groot-Reichwein
    • 1
  • H. Goosen
    • 1
  • M. G. N. van Steekelenburg
    • 2
  1. 1.Wageningen University and Research CentreWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.XplorelabThe HagueThe Netherlands

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