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Cityscape: Volume 15 Number 1 | Article 9


Climate Change and City Hall

Volume 15 Number 1

Mark D. Shroder
Michelle P. Matuga

Public Risks and the Challenges to Climate-Change Adaptation: A Proposed Framework for Planning in the Age of Uncertainty

Philip Berke, Ward Lyles, University of North Carolina


Previous research and practice suggest that the lack of a public constituency concerned about public risks and the traditional planning paradigm that is chronically deficient in addressing public risks are major challenges to adaptation to climate change. The core features of public risks associated with climate change are uncertainty about the effects of carbon dioxide emissions, broad distribution, and planning horizons that are decades away. In this article, we present new models that are emerging in research and planning practice that link collaborative governance with anticipatory governance. Coupling the models offers a new approach to planning that simultaneously formulates strategic guidance for current decisions to achieve future resiliency goals, and it builds supportive networks of stakeholders. We offer recommendations on how to make the transition to plans that are premised on uncertainty, flexible polices, monitoring, innovation, and feedback. We then recommend future research needed to examine the effectiveness of the planning framework we propose.

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