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Climate Change Adaptation

Coping with Heat and Rising Water Levels: “The Pacific Northwest is the best region in the United States for escaping the brunt of climate change,” stated Vivek Shandas, Portland State University


Places with newer infrastructure, with Climate Change Action Plans, that seek to build community across socioeconomic barriers, and are close to rivers or lakes are more likely to be prepared for the worst aspects of climate change. “When evaluating how prepared cities are for climate change, look at a handful of factors, including policy and politics, community organization, and infrastructure,” said Professor Vivek Shandas.

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“Sponge Cities” – a catchy way to describe the goal in restoring the capacity of the urban landscape to absorb water and release it naturally


In 2013, President Xi Jinping injected a new term into the global urban design vocabulary when he launched China’s Sponge City program. And then in August 2017, the Senate of Berlin released its Sponge City Strategy. The common guiding philosophy for both? Mimic nature, restore the water balance, adapt to a changing climate. The ‘sponge city’ imagery resonates. People intuitively get it.

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Adapting to Climate Change in Hong Kong: “To cope with stormwater flooding, the Government could adopt the ‘Sponge City’ concept,” urges Dr. Jeffrey Hung, Friends of the Earth


“Climate change is already happening and affecting all of us. Recent extreme weather highlight the concrete impact of climate change. It requires immediate action to improve the city’s resilience,” wrote Dr. Jeffrey Hung. “The Hong Kong Government should identify the risks, reinforce the infrastructure, establish recovery programmes, educate the public, and finance the reinforcements and adaptation measures to make Hong Kong truly climate change ready.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2012: “In practical terms, we have packaged useful estimates of what the future will bring,” stated Dr. Charles Rowney when explaining the addition of the Climate Change Module in the Water Balance Model for British Columbia


“The Climate Change Module enables a wide range of stakeholders to make decisions based on a detailed assessment of climate change effects on local drainage, without having to decode the huge body of confusing and contradictory literature. Delivering this capability quickly and easily on the web is a ‘must’ – and this result is a ‘first’,” stated Dr. Charles Rowney. “This starting point will continue to evolve, but the leap in capability that this represents cannot be understated.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2010: “Adapting to Climate Change – An Introduction for Canadian Municipalities” reported that the impacts of changing climate were already evident in Canada and globally


“The book provides municipal decision-makers and staff with information to help them understand the need for climate change adaptation and how to put adaptation measures in place. It includes 11 case studies that illustrate how municipalities of varying sizes from across the country are taking adaptation action now,” states Robert Hicks.

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VIDEO: Convening for Action at the Comox Valley Eco-Asset Symposium: “Restorative development is within your grasp. You know what to do. Go do it,” urged Bob Sandford in his closing reflections (March 2017)


“We cannot forget that there has been a huge investment in what we now know is an unsustainable status quo. Investment must now be shifted towards restoration that uses the forces of nature itself to help build more efficiently integrated infrastructure that as much as possible maintains itself. What a gift to the world that would be,” stated Bob Sandford. “If you want to live here in perpetuity, then you need to do this. Do not forget the urgency.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2010: How city design can help save the planet: Patrick Condon’s Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities


“In any journey, it helps to start with a look back from where we once came. The end of the Second World War marks the time after which cities changed the most. Many compelling reasons drove the crucial choices we made at that time,” writes Patrick Condon. “It is therefore up to a new generation to coalesce around a common vision for the future — a common vision deeply grounded in the pioneering efforts of the previous generation.”

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THE WELL-TEMPERED CITY: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations and Human Behavior Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life – a visionary new book by Jonathan Rose


In the vein of Jane Jacobs’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities and Edward Glaeser’s Triumph of the City, Jonathan F. P. Rose—a visionary in urban development and renewal—champions the role of cities in addressing the environmental, economic, and social challenges of the 21st century. He advocates using green infrastructure to mitigate damage from destructive storms. “What’s so compelling about natural systems solutions is that they not only save costs but also improve the quality of life,” he contends.

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“We must debate the question of urgency in responding to climate change,” stated Chair Vic Derman when introducing his report to the Capital Regional District’s Environmental Services Committee


“Unquestionably, many of the decisions we must make will involve financial outlays. In some cases, they will be considerable. When deciding whether or not decisions being considered are ‘affordable’, the CRD and local governments should ask the question: ‘What will be the cost to the planet and ultimately to us, if other local governments around the world were to join us in deciding that we simply can’t afford to respond’. In all likelihood, we cannot afford not to,” concluded Vic Derman.

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Think and Act like a Watershed: Harness Nature to Adapt to a Changing Climate


Research at Simon Fraser University resulted in development of a framework for evaluating application of Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA). “Julia Berry did a great job of integrating concepts and testing the evaluation framework on her two case cities. Hopefully the work continues to advance our understanding of how to make these concepts accessible and measurable to help guide and promote implementation,” stated Sean Markey.

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