Publications (FIS)

Ecosystem-based adaptation in cities

Use of formal and informal planning instruments

authored by
Philipp Schneider, Ariane Walz, Christian Albert, Torsten Lipp

Extreme weather events like heavy rainfall and heat waves will likely increase in intensity and frequency due to climate change. As the impacts of these extremes are particularly prominent in urban agglomerations, cities face an urgent need to develop adaptation strategies. Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) provides helpful strategies that harness ecological processes in addition to technical interventions. EbA has been addressed in informal adaptation planning. Formal municipality planning, namely landscape planning, is supposed to include traditionally some EbA measures, although adaptation has not been their explicit focus. Our research aims to investigate how landscape plans incorporate climate-related extremes and EbA as well as to discuss the potential to enhance EbA uptake in formal planning. We conducted a document analysis of informal planning documents from 85 German cities and the analysis of formal landscape plans of 61 of these cities. The results suggest that city size does affect the extent of informal planning instruments and the comprehensiveness of formal landscape plans. Climate-related extremes and EbA measures have traditionally been part of landscape planning. Almost all landscape plans address heat stress, while climate change and heavy rain have been addressed less often, though more frequently since 2008. Greening of walls and roofs, on-site infiltration and water retention reveal significant potential for better integration in landscape plans. Landscape planning offers an entry point for effective climate adaptation through EbA in cities. Informal and formal planning instruments should be closely combined for robust, spatially explicit, legally binding implementation of EbA measures in the future.

Institute of Environmental Planning
External Organisation(s)
University of Potsdam
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Forestry, Geography, Planning and Development, Nature and Landscape Conservation, Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 13 - Climate Action
Electronic version(s) (Access: Open)