Cities in both theUnited States and Europe are
experiencing oods, heat waves,droughts, and other effects of
climate change. At the same
time, cities are constantly
updating their built and natural
environment in a way thatsupports the adaptive planning
needed to respond to changes
in climate, including exacerba
tion by growing populations andaging infrastructure. Local landuse and infrastructure planning provide the framework for newstormwater systems, build
ings, parks, and public spaces.Smart growth approaches thatconsider where and how citiesdevelop, as well as green infra
structure systems for managing stormwater, can prepare forgreater uctuations in weatherconditions. Importantly, theseapproaches are also capable of producing additional communitybenets. This brief looks at theadaptive planning policies and
practices that the European
cities of Rotterdam, Barcelona,and Lyon are instituting tocombat the effects of climatechange. The local approachesthese cities are developing provide examples of innovationsthat U.S. cities can look to whenimplementing their own local
climate action plans.
Urban and Regional Policy Program
Building Climate Change Adaptation withSmart Growth and Green Infrastructure: Adaptive Planning Policies from Rotterdam,Lyon, and Barcelona
by Abby Hall
1744 R Street NWWashington, DC 20009T 1 202 683 2650F 1 202 265 1662E email@example.com
October 20, 2011
Introduction: Why Cities Must Adaptto Climate Change
Climate change is happening andcommunities are already seeing theimpacts in the orm o heat waves,oods, droughts, and other extremeweather disasters that impact publichealth, natural ecosystems, andoverall economic well-being. Even i emissions o greenhouse gases wereimmediately curbed, global changesin climate are certain to continue orsome time.
Extensive research iden-ties the direct impacts that climatechange will have on dierent regionsand on various elements o society and economies in the United States.
Large and small communities acrossthe country must start to identiy waysthey can adapt, dened as “adjustmentin natural or human systems to a newor changing environment that exploitsbenecial opportunities or moderatesnegative eects.”
Climate change adaptation will be alocal and regional issue rather thana national issue or the United Statesbecause o the regional variability o risks. Unlike smaller European coun-tries such as Te Netherlands, wherethere is the single predominant risk o ooding, the United States will seegreat regional dierence in the typeso climate change impacts, rom sealevel rise on the coasts to drought inthe West and ooding in the Midwest.In smaller European countries, there-ore, a national adaptation strategy thatcoordinates agencies, unding, andprograms around a common climatechange risk can be an eective tool. Inthe United States, on the other hand,the ederal government can provideoverall support in the orm o undingand removal o programmatic barriers,as well as technical assistance, but thesolutions will need to be regionally andlocally developed. Regional climatescience should be used to develop risk assessments that are locally scaled,and regional climate scientists areoen best prepared to discuss regionalimpacts and appropriate solutions.Climate change will have an acuteimpact on cities because o the concen-tration o population in urban areas.Climate change risks or cities include:
Extreme heat, heat waves, and airquality problems, due in part toheat-trapping landscapes like roosand paved suraces.