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Coastal climate hazards and urban planning: how planning responses can lead to maladaptation

  • Andrew MacintoshEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

Urban planning has the potential to be a powerful tool for facilitating efficient and equitable adaptation to climate change-related coastal hazards (‘coastal climate hazards’). However, if urban planning measures are poorly designed or implemented, it can increase costs and vulnerability, and unfairly affect the interests of particular groups. Through a case study on the coastal climate hazard planning framework in Victoria, Australia, this paper aims to illustrate how urban planning measures can lead to maladaptation and draw lessons for the future design and implementation of planning responses. Five main policy lessons are drawn from the case study. First, planning frameworks should encourage the adoption of robust approaches that are as insensitive to the uncertainties associated with coastal climate hazards as possible. Secondly, policy makers need to be mindful of the opportunity costs and equity implications of planning responses. Thirdly, to be sustainable, planning responses must be robust to social and political factors, something that can be achieved through the use of flexible approaches that allow continued use and development of land but on conditions that protect the interests of governments and communities. Fourthly, policy makers need to be mindful of transaction costs. Finally, when devolving planning responsibilities to lower levels of government, policy makers need to ensure that the objectives of planning frameworks are clear, there is minimal ambiguity in decision guidelines, and that the resourcing and capacity constraints of planning bodies are appropriately considered.

Keywords

Coastal climate hazards Urban planning Adaptation Spatial adaptation planning 

Supplementary material

11027_2012_9406_MOESM1_ESM.docx (45 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 44 kb)

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Climate Law & PolicyAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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