Spatial planning to integrate climate change adaptation at local level

Kumar, Parveen (2015) Spatial planning to integrate climate change adaptation at local level. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

PDF (Spatial planning to integrate climate change adaptation at local level) - Doctoral Thesis


Climate change is directly or indirectly affecting cities, regions or even nations in multiple ways. Impacts are exponential and repetitive with increased instability of climate pattern, socio-ecological systems, increased inequalities and distribution of resources. It is therefore necessary that social and economic hubs and potential resource rich region should become the catalyst that encourages the focus on climate change policies. Despite having various international and national climate change frameworks and forums it is unclear how international, national and even local governments develop response actions to climate concerns and integrate them into different spatial scales. Developing and mainstreaming effective response actions to climate change into numerous sectors, cross-sectoral policies is a complex issue which has plagued policy makers at different spatial scales and on different policy arenas. In order to efficiently integrate and sensitizing society towards climate change issues, decision makers and different stakeholders have to develop insightful information bases, share awareness of climate change risks, vulnerability patterns and finally develop response actions at all level of policy preparation through policy integration, implementation or structural reforms. This study contributes towards understanding climate change risks and perception within spatial planning policies at local level. This has been undertaken by investigating, testing or developing real spatial planning policies, vulnerability assessment frameworks and decision support systems that aim to improve current spatial planning tools intended at building climate resilient living spaces. This study was divided into three main stages 1) To develop and test an assessment framework to track integration of climate change issues into spatial planning, 2) To identify hot spots of climate change at urban/regional levels by applying spatial vulnerability assessment tools and 3) To apply eco-system based adaption responses to climate change in an urban region and identifying barriers. Drawing the case study from India, in the first stage, an attempt was made to understand how spatial plans in India are incorporating climate change issues and identifying potential gaps. Spatial plans across various cities in India were examined with the help of a review framework that was developed upon Moser and Loer’s (2008) work on ''Managing climate risks''. The second stage presents a climate change vulnerability assessment framework and its working methodology at local spatial scale, considering three main components: exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity. The vulnerability assessment framework was applied to an urban area in India, namely, Bangalore and a hill district of Eastern Himalaya namely Darjeeling. In the final stage of this study, ecosystem services based adaptation responses within spatial planning was studies to understand how it can increase adaptive capacity and address climate changes issues. The results of this study identified key concerns to climate change issues and its integration in India. The policy analysis shows that the role of spatial plans to integrate climate change issues at local levels like urban areas and regions in India are still limited. Local policies and spatial plans shows low level of awareness, moderate level of analytical capability and limited action responses to integrate climate change issues at local level. Spatial policies in India are still limited to physical and economic issues and undermine the issues of climate change. The application of vulnerability assessment framework demonstrated that it successfully provided a spatial assessment of climate change vulnerability patterns. The spatial pattern of vulnerability identifies areas requiring urgent attention to adaptation action, enabling policy intervention and prioritizing action. At the same time an analysis of the perception of people also confirmed the results of vulnerability assessment at local level. Finally the results showed how ecosystem services based response actions when applied within spatial planning can play an important role to mitigate the effects of climate change and adapt to local climate concerns with least negative repercussions. The findings of this study creates a platform for discussion on decision making process and the potential aspects where climate change issues can become a part of spatial planning policy. Climate change mitigation and adaptation for short terms may fulfill objectives for current climate scenarios but may impose externalities in future. So, policy makers and local development organization need to carefully narrate future climate resilient scenarios. This study is the reflection of the interrelationship between the existing information bases, knowledge gaps, policy preparation practices, analytical capability, participation and technological innovation in climate change integration at local spatial scale.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Environmental Engineering
PhD Cycle:27
Subjects:Area 08 - Ingegneria civile e Architettura > ICAR/21 URBANISTICA
Repository Staff approval on:16 Jun 2015 12:05

Repository Staff Only: item control page