Climate change adaptation by design: a guide for sustainable communities.

City of Richmond, BC, Canada.

This guide was released by the Town & Country Planning Association (TCPA) to encourage serious debate on planning for the impacts of climate change on towns and cities. This is their report.

TCPA is an independent charity and claims to be ‘working to improve the art and science of town and country planning. The TCPA puts social justice and the environment at the heart of policy debate and inspires government, industry and campaigners to take a fresh perspective on major issues, including planning policy, housing, regeneration and climate change.’

The headlining point made by the report is that cities need to increasing adapt to 40-degree summers. More trees, parks, roof gardens, water recycling and conservation, as well as ‘climate change adaption technologies’ are all mentioned.

Water stress is a central theme. The Water Saving Group, run by Defra, which includes government departments, regulators, water companies and consumer groups are focusing on strategies aimed at saving water. This is their action plan.

Its author Robert Shaw says, ‘The great thing about this agenda is that it’s positive – we are fostering conservation, biodiversity and sustainability. There is also talk of floor levels being raised in flood risk areas and suggestions that planners should consider moving hospitals, police and fire stations away from these areas. Not sure how practical the money men will find that last idea!

Good though to see this sort of discussion happening now. Planners need time to mitigate future climate change impacts. The cost of these proposals as ever will be the deciding factor. To build a new and even higher Thames Barrier for example, which currently protects London from tidal surges and spring tides, is said to cost in the region of £20b!

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