Mainstreaming climate adaptation into urban planning: overcoming barriers, seizing opportunities and evaluating the results in two Dutch case studies

Abstract

With cities facing climate change, climate adaptation is necessary to reduce risks such as heat stress and flooding and maintain the goals of sustainable urban development. In climate change literature, the focus has been on developing a new dedicated policy domain for climate adaptation. Yet, empirical evidence shows that in practice actors are searching for solutions that not only serve climate adaptation, but integrate the adaptation objective in existing policy domains (e.g., urban planning, water management, public health). The integration of adaptation in other policy domains, also called “mainstreaming climate adaptation,” can stimulate the effectiveness of policy making through combining objectives, increase efficient use of human and financial resources and ensure long-term sustainable investments. A better understanding of the process of mainstreaming is, however, lacking. The article introduces a conceptual model for mainstreaming climate adaptation to enhance our understanding of the concept as well as the barriers and opportunities that influence these integration processes and to explore strategies for overcoming barriers and creating opportunities. Two Dutch case studies—related to urban planning—are used to illustrate the value of the model. The cases demonstrate the dynamic process of mainstreaming and raise discussion of the appropriate criteria for evaluating mainstreaming in relation to the aims of climate adaptation. The paper concludes with an exploration of specific strategies to facilitate the mainstreaming of adaptation in existing and new policy domains.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Adaptation is usually defined as “adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits mutual opportunities” (IPCC 2007: 869). Governing climate adaptation is frequently discussed in combination with adaptive governance. Adaptive governance literature emphasizes, among other things, the complexity of governing societal problems such as climate change due to inherent uncertainties. This requires an adaptive (i.e., flexible and incremental) way of governing (see e.g., Folke et al. 2005; Herrfahrdt-Pähle 2012). In this paper we consider adaptation first and foremost in line with the above definition and less in terms of adaptive governance, because the paper focuses on the practical implementation of adaptation measures. Some of these measures, however, might be considered as examples of adaptive governance, for example, the implementation of “no regret” measures such as green roofs that act as water storage facilities irrespective of how precipitation patterns may change and have additional benefits, such as insulation.

  2. 2.

    Adger et al. (2007 p. 733) draw a distinction between limitations and barriers. Limitations are largely insurmountable, while barriers can be overcome.

  3. 3.

    The workshop was commissioned by the national government and organized by the Dutch consultancy firm Grontmij and the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

  4. 4.

    The “Water Test” is an administrative agreement and resembles a sort of environmental impact assessment for the water system.

  5. 5.

    The norms are based on the ABC storage norms. These norms imply that in the case of urban areas 325 m3/ha water storage should be applied. This figure is based on 50 % hard surface. In the case of Schieveste, the Water Board used a higher percentage of 80–90 % hard surface, advising 550 m3/ha of water storage. In addition, the Water Board added 10 % for climate change and 10 % for the coastal effect (Hoogheemraadschap van Delfland 2005).

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Correspondence to Caroline J. Uittenbroek.

Appendix

Appendix

List of interviews and planning documents

Schieveste case interviews:

  • Project manager, municipality of Schiedam

  • Civil Engineer, municipality of Schiedam

  • System manager (maintenance), municipality of Schiedam

  • Adviser, Water Board of Delfland

  • Consultant, Royal Haskoning

Planning documents on Schieveste:

  • Municipality of Schiedam (2002) Masterplan Schieveste

  • Municipality of Schiedam (2004) De beeldkwaliteit van de Openbare Ruimte en de

  • Gebouwen in Fase 2 van Schieveste. December 2004.

  • Municipality of Schiedam (2006) Schieveste, Stedenbouwkundig plan &

  • beeldkwaliteit fase 2. Februari 2006.

  • Municipality of Schiedam (2007) Milieueffectrapportage schieveste. 20 juli 2007.

  • RBOI (2010) Schiedam, Schieveste, Bestemmingsplan. 25 augustus 2010.

Westflank case interviews/actors present at workgroup Westflank:

  • Two Advisers, Water Board of Rijnland

  • Senior project manager, Municipality of Haarlemmermeer

  • Policy adviser, Province of North Holland

Planning documents on Westflank:

  • Governmental platform, Bestuurlijk Overleg Westflank Haarlemmermeer (2010) Ontwerp Programma van Eisen. Parels in de Polder. Gebiedsontwikkeling Westflank Haarlemmermeer. Januari 2010. Province of North-Holland, Haarlem

  • Grontmij, NIROV, EUR (Erasmus University Rotterdam) (2011) Evaluatie watertoets 2011, Rapportage Casus Westflank Haarlemmermeer, Grondmij, NIROV & EUR. Rijksoverheid, The Hague

  • PBL (2010) CPB Notitie. Beoordeling Westflank Haarlemmermeer. 26 januari 2010. PBL, The Hague

  • Provinces North- and South-Holland (2006) Gebiedsuitwerking Haarlemmermeer-Bollenstreek. May 2006. Province of North Holland, Haarlem

  • Randstad Urgent (2009) 48 miljoen voor Westflank Haarlemmermeer. Nieuwsflits december 2009. Nummer 22. Randstad Urgent programme, The Hague

  • Rijksoverheid (2007) Urgentieprogramma Randstad. Naar een duurzame en concurrerende topregio. Definitieve versie 26 juni 2007. Ministry of Traffic and Water management, The Hague

  • Rijksoverheid (2009a) Tweede jaar raportage Randstad Urgent: Westflank Haarlemmermeer, 20 September 2009. Rijksoverheid, The Hague

  • Rijksoverheid (2009b) Randstad Urgent: Westflank Haarlemmermeer. Overeenkomst minister LNV en gedeputeerde RO, Schiphol en Grondzaken Provincie Noord-Holland. 29 November 2009. Rijksoverheid, The Hague

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Uittenbroek, C.J., Janssen-Jansen, L.B. & Runhaar, H.A.C. Mainstreaming climate adaptation into urban planning: overcoming barriers, seizing opportunities and evaluating the results in two Dutch case studies. Reg Environ Change 13, 399–411 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-012-0348-8

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Keywords

  • Urban planning
  • Climate adaptation
  • Mainstreaming
  • The Netherlands
  • Policy process