Research Handbooks on Impact Assessment series
Edited by Davide Geneletti
Chapter 18: Promoting nature-based solutions for climate adaptation in cities through impact assessment
Climate change is expected to be an increasingly important source of impacts on biodiversity, both directly and in combination with other activities and phenomena, such as land use change, habitat fragmentation, and biological disruption. The complexity of Biodiversity Impact Assessment under climate change is increased by the fact that the effects are difficult to generalize, given that the timing, direction, and magnitude of the expected shifts in habitat differ among species, regions, and habitat types. In addition, the prediction of climate change is inherently uncertain. In the light of all these uncertainty factors, an important role that impact assessment processes can play is the promotion of ‘nature-based solutions’ for climate change adaptation. Nature-based approaches are no-regret options that offer the flexibility required for dealing with a changing climate, and the associateD uncertainties. Impact assessment processes that support urban planning, such as particularly Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), can help to promote the proposal and implementation of nature-based solutions for climate adaptation in cities, as well to compare the expected effectiveness of these solutions with regard to more traditional approaches. This chapter aims at providing some insights and examples related to this topic, particularly by: Presenting the findings of a review of the extent to which nature-based solutions for climate adaptation are currently included in planning documents at the urban scale. Illustrating a methodology to increase the evidence base that planners have at their disposal to develop and compare nature-based solutions. Specifically, this methodology concerns the analysis of the potential cooling effects of green urban infrastructures. Testing the methodology in two applications related to impact assessment of urban planning for a case study in the city of Trento, Italy. Drawing some conclusions and recommendations for future practice and research in this area.
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