Overall Goal

The aim of this Thematic Network is to explore how communities confront climate change, including assessment of governance structures around climate adaptation or processes dealing with it, and how they seek to adapt to emerging challenges arising from increases in temperature and more extreme weather events. Research will facilitate a better understanding of local expertise and highlight, in particular, the value a community planning perspective brings to discourse on climate resilience. It will shed light on local government decision dynamics around motivational factors and extent of planning for climate resilience.

The TN aims to work collaboratively with local actors and key stakeholders to identify current and future environmental challenges, and to scope how research through the TN can assist communities increase their resilience to the impacts of climate variability, be it through the co-development of policy approaches, on-the-ground action implementation, research capacity and/ or knowledge mobilization, for example. One of the distinctive aspects of this TN is that it will work within and across scales from larger urban centres to small communities, including attention to Indigenous forms of community planning for climate resilience.

Recent Activities

  • Videoconference - Inaugural Partners Meeting (November, 2019).
  • Seminar - Integrating climate change into urban planning education and practice. UN Habitat - Planners for Climate Action Academic Seminar (Nairobi, Kenya, November, 2019). Delivered virtually by Birchall (University of Alberta, Canada).
  • Conference - Environmental extremes and the role of decision-makers in facilitating community resilience. Emergency Management Stakeholder Summit (Edmonton, Canada, February, 2020). Keynote Address by Birchall (University of Alberta, Canada).

Planned activities

  • Seminar - Local-scale Climate Resilience. University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada, March, 2020)
    • Chair/ Organizer - Thematic Network + the Geography and Planning Students Association (University of Alberta, Canada). As part of the TN activities, this seminar will address the meaning of resilience, and the challenges faced by both urban and rural/remote communities. It will discuss some key elements that policy makers and stakeholders need for planning long-term adaptation responses, the ways in which effective integration of different knowledge systems can occur to inform and formulate policy, and a discussion around how community concerns, scientific research, and governance demands can meet on common ground. See attached for further detail about the Seminar program and how to participate via ZOOM videoconference (from 9-11:30am).
  • Panel - Local environmental change and planning for resilience across the Arctic. UArctic Congress 2020 (Reykjavik, Iceland, October, 2020)
    • Co-Chairs/ Organizers - Dr. S. Jeff Birchall, University of Alberta, Canada; Dr. Sigridur Kristjansdottir, Agricultural University of Iceland, Iceland
    • Panelists-Presenters include Karin Buhmann, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark; Tristan Pearce, University of Northern British Columbia, Canada; Svetlana Kuznetsova, Northern (Arctic) Federal University, Russia
  • Workshop - Planning and Resilience: Local impacts and local solutions (Whitehorse, Canada, February, 2021)
    • Chair/ Organizer - University of Alberta, Canada; in discussion with local Yukon institution to Co-Chair.

Thematic Network Cross-links

Recent relevant publications by Partners

  • Special Section on Land-sea interactions and coastal development, in Marine Policy. See the volume here.

    Thematic Network member contributions include: 1. Schluter et al.: Land-sea interactions and coastal development: An evolutionary governance perspective: 2. van Assche et al.: Governance and the coastal condition: Towards new modes of observation, adaptation and integration, 3. Birchall: Coastal climate adaptation planning and evolutionary governance: Insights from Homer, Alaska

  • Birchall, SJ. (2019). Coastal climate adaptation planning and evolutionary governance: Insights from Alaska. Marine Policy, Land and Sea Interaction Special Issue. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2018.12.029.
  • Birchall, SJ, Bonnett, N. (2019). Local-scale climate change stressors and policy response: The case of Homer, Alaska. Environmental Planning and Management. https://doi.org/10.1080/09640568.2018.1537975.
  • Birchall, SJ., Bonnett, N. (2019). Thinning sea ice and thawing permafrost: Climate change adaptation planning in Nome, Alaska. Environmental Hazards. https://doi.org/10.1080/17477891.2019.1637331.


University of Alberta, Faculty of Science media release: New international network on climate change led by UAlberta scientist