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Adaptation to climate change necessitates serious adjustments to the spatial organization of our environment. However, the uncertainties, the controversial character of the climate debate, the variety of climate change consequences and the inherently complex character of climate change puts specific demands on adapting spatial planning to climate change. Due to these characteristics of climate change, climate adaptation demands “adaptive spatial planning”. One of the main challenges is to balance between a robust and a flexible approach. On the one hand adaptive spatial planning tries to enable social and economic functions to flourish. On the other hand flexibility is required in finding creative combinations between the fulfillment of climate adaptation and other spatial interests. In this article we reconsider the strategic departure points for spatial planning (norms, values and principles), the interactive organization of planning processes, and the allocation of responsibilities, costs and benefits in planning processes which in our view constitute adaptive spatial planning practices in the context of climate change.

Towards Adaptive Spatial Planning for Climate Change: Balancing Between Robustness and Flexibility

in Journal for European Environmental & Planning Law

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