Action plan for managing ground conditions in the built environment
Climate change is expected to have serious impacts on housing and infrastructure. No Swedish national strategy yet exists to facilitate the planning required to act upon it. The Swedish Geotechnical Institute (SGI) has, therefore, developed an action plan for adaptation of land use and ground constructions in the built environment.
Adaptation to climate change, particularly flood risks, may come to pose large challenges, in the future, and will require cooperation among a range of stakeholders. The new action plan, for managing ground conditions in the changing climate, proposes a framework for delivering adaptation action, at all community levels: national, regional and local.
Not only does adaptation help ensure that our urban environments are more robust in the face of an inevitable climate change, but it offers opportunities, as well. By building adaptive capacity and delivering sound adaptation solutions, we can make cities more attractive, with a better quality of life.
Effective adaptation, in the built environment, needs to be supported by robust policy, a good knowledge base and a range of incentives to ensure delivery on the ground. Our hope is that the action plan will be supportive of this process. Bringing forward new digital bases such as maps, decision support tools and guidance on climate change effects on ground conditions, is a cornerstone of the action plan.
The action plan describes key guiding measures and specific activities by which authorities and the construction industry can deliver climate change adaptations for managing ground conditions. Insurance providers may have much to contribute, as they offer other parts of society services to appropriately identify, assess and reduce the financial impacts of climate change induced risks.
The action plan highlights the need to explore the distribution of liability, for example, the costs from flooding between public authorities and the private insurance sector. To address this issue, the action plan proposes activities to examine how the commercial insurance industry and public authorities can coordinate their actions to promote climate change adaptation.
Key climate adaptation messages
Seek opportunities to incorporate adaptation into new and existing developments. Planners, designers and developers need to work together to ensure that any new development or reconstruction takes climate change impacts into account. There are many ways to facilitate adaptation.
While it is often more cost-effective to adapt new developments at the planning and design stages, restoration efforts also offer significant opportunities to incorporate adaptation. The action plan proposes measures to increase respect for ground conditions throughout the Swedish civil process from planning, design and construction, management, demolition and restoration.
- Measures for knowledge building are proposed, for all processes.
- Work in partnership with communities.
- Engagement of national and regional authorities with local communities and the construction industry is crucial for developing adaptation actions that will work in practice.
The action plan highlights the advantages of partnerships, between the public and private sectors, to form a fundamental part of the process of developing sufficient knowledge of the effects of climate change on ground conditions, to be able to make the right decisions for both new and existing developments.
Climate Change Strategist, SGI
Head of Research and Development, SGI
Article published in Risk Consulting Magazine 1/2017