Climate Change Adaptation: Strategic Planning and Urban Design Practice

Climate Change Adaptation: Strategic Planning and Urban Design Practice

Abeer Elshater (Ain Shams University, Egypt) and Hisham Abusaada (Housing and Building National Research Center, Egypt)
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-2462-9.ch001
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The United Nations (UN) has proposed two actions against climate change between 2015 and 2021: “combat” in Goal 13 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and “adaptation” in the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (the Conference of the Parties COP 26). This chapter aims to highlight pathways and actions for addressing and adapting to climate change at higher strategic levels and urban planning and design at the local level. In 32 authoritative texts, the snowball technique and content analysis were used to discover the interactions between people, nature, and climate change adaptation. The findings revealed that lower-level adaptation methods, such as urban design techniques, were ineffective in responding to people's actions in public areas. In terms of SDGs and COP 26, epistemological awareness of normative variables crucial to the relationship between people and nature in public spaces adds significantly to this endeavor.
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In September (2015), the United Nations (UN) adopted climate action1 as a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 tactic to combat climate change and its impact2. Six years later, based on the findings of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) (2021) on the gap in climate adaptation3 (UNEP, UNEP DTU Partnership, World Adaptation Science Programme (WASP), 2021), on November 4, 2021, in Glasgow, England, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (Conference of the Parties, COP 26) focused on climate change adaptation actions to build a sustainable world and better life for poor urban communities4 (Moosmann et al., 2021). Adjusting physical, biophysical, biodiversity, social, political, economic, social, and ecological systems in response to climatic effects and stimuli was the focus of this adaptation (Kabisch, Korn, Stadler, and Bonn, 2017; Letcher, 2021; Lovejoy and Hannah, 2019).

In the 6 years between 2015 and 2021, climate change response strategies followed two paths that focused on taking measures related to climate change, one focusing on combat, (Letcher, 2021; Lovejoy and Hannah, 2019) and another on adaptation (Bovill, 2015; James, 2015), with different levels of control and adaptive responsibilities (or coexistence). The first path focuses on higher levels of development, such as nations and governments (a top-bottom approach) and specializes down to the level of individuals (a bottom-up approach). In contrast, actions in the second path concern individuals and progress all the way to governments and nations. This chapter deals with local-scale ideas for control, focusing on coping strategies, mainly in public places in poor communities in the Global South. According to Tabari and Willems (2018), there is considerable variation in seasons with respect to the traditional four distinct seasons. Das (2019) observed that these events of COP significantly impact people’s comfort and lifestyles in the Global North and Global South.

Climate change is a dynamic driver of changes that leads to changes in urban policies. The overwhelming majority of scientists is convinced, based on scientific evidence, that humans are the sole drivers of modern climate change (Fares, 2021; Letcher, 2021). With regard to climate change and environmental crises, changing air temperatures, the intensity of solar radiation, humidity, torrential rains, floods, and storms are all caused by humankind’s exploitation of Earth, which has led to noticeable consequences in terms of global changes (Letcher, 2021) in precipitation, frequency and magnitude of storms and hurricanes, floods, and droughts (Fares, 2021). In addition, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) (2021) stated that because heat is becoming more intense in many regions, scorching summers are becoming more common.

Thermal comfort, which is affected by the regulation of urban heat islands (UHIs), is one of the primary subjects to be explored urban planning and design disciplines. On a micro-scale, Soltani and Sharifi (2019) described a lack of planting cover and an increase in hardscape, which increases the UHI impact (i.e., in the form of an artificial temperature). For instance, the role of urban fabric on the surface of UHIs in Istanbul was depicted by Okumus and Terzib (2021). Elshater et al. (2022) also concluded that people in a district in Cairo, the capital of Egypt (particularly people who spend their time working and commuting outdoors), suffer from contextual effects of heat exposure.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Regenerative City: Concept stresses the importance of moving beyond a narrow definition of sustainability and embracing a holistic approach to urban planning. This approach stresses that cities need to do more than keep up with the natural resources that they use to live and grow.

Adaptive Capacity: Focuses on climate change and adjusts a system to external factors from its environment. Increasing adaptive capacity is a realistic way to deal with climate change, including unpredictability and extremes. When the adaptive capability is improved, the vulnerabilities are reduced.

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