The Application of Climate Change Interventions in City Planning

A case of Chipata City

Master's Thesis, 2021

83 Pages


Table of Contents





1.1 Background of the study
1.2 Statement of the problem
1.3 Aim of the Study
1.4 Significance of the Study
1.6 Conceptual framework
1.7 Theoretical framework
1.8 Chapter Summary

2.1 Introduction
2.2 Climate Change Causes and Effects
2.3 Climate Change and City Planning
2.4 Climate change Adaptation and City Planning
2.5 Climate Change Mitigation and City Planning
2.6 Climate challenges faced by city residents in relation to city planning
2.8 Chapter Summary

3.1 Introduction
3.2 Study area location and description
3.3 Research design
3.4 Study population
3.5 Sampling procedure
3.6 Sample size
3.7 Data collection
3.8 Data collection Instruments
3.9 Data processing and analysis
3.10 Ethical Consideration
3.11 Chapter Summary

4.1 Introduction
4.2 Presentation of results
4.3 Chapter summary

5.1 Introduction
5.2 Climate Change adaptation interventions used by city planners in the city of Chipata
5.3 The inclusion of policies and legislations related to adaptation interventions in city planning
5.4 Challenges faced by city residents in relation to climate change effects in city planning
5.5 Chapter Summary

6.1 Introduction
6.2 Climate change adaptation interventions used by city planners in the city of Chipata
6.3 The inclusion of policies and legislations related to adaptation interventions in city planning
6.4 Challenges faced by city residents in relation to climate change effects in city planning
6.5 Conclusion
6.5 Recommendations
6.6 Areas of further Research



It is my humble honour to recognize various individuals who have helped me in different ways to realize this dissertation. First, I pay homage to the Almighty God for protection, good health and for guidance given to me through this expedition. “My trust has ever been in your name LORD.”

My second line of appreciation goes to my supervisor - Dr. Adrian Phiri for his tireless efforts that ensured me of keep on in the lane towards finishing the race. His support and guidance was significant, and indeed a very important step in enhancing my understanding of the topic I was dealing with and even to learn new perspectives on the study. “Dr. Phiri! I wonder what would have become of this research without your advice and guidance.”

In a special way, I want to thank my wife, Thokozani, and Son, (Miraculous), for their patience, support and encouragement during moments of uncertainty throughout the study time. I am very thankful that you allowed me to rob you of the time to be with you in order for me to pursue the studies. To my parents and all relations, I thank you for your indisputable support at all times.

I would also like to thank my brother, Vungani Kalanga and friends who supported me in different ways – Fr. Salvador Gomez Rubalcava, Geoffrey Sakala, Lilato Mwita, Choolwe Masilani, Martin Mubiana, Martius Botha, Brian Liambai, Lewis Kabwita, Robert Mbewe, Nephalli Banda, Michael Mulenga, Osward Mukosha and Tobias Phiri.

I wish to also acknowledge those who enthusiastically provided the knowledge and ideas used in this work. Your valuable information made it easier for me to do this dissertation.


To The late Edgar Kalunga (Council Secretary-Sikongo Town Council)rest in perfect peace my boss


Climate change is counted as the greatest persistent trouble encountered by the world in the 21st century. Cities, especially those that have not factored climate change consideration in planning, face many challenges due to climate change. Problems that have plagued cities due to Climate hazards the world over include generally extreme temperatures and increased precipitation patterns with their subsequent potential impacts of flooding, property damage, and the exaggerated urban heat island effect. These effects have left a significant dent on cities and have actually led to displacement of people and death. Considering climate adaptation and mitigation in city planning can ominously ease the risk of climate hazards on people, assets and means of support in urban areas. Chipata city and different urban communities in Zambia are not left out with regards to the impacts of climate change, making urban planning dire in creating climate mitigation and adaptation interventions. Urban planning involves among other issues; land use, infrastructure development and urban expansion, municipal service provision, growth management, environmental planning, solid and liquid waste management, housing and building development, and site design.

This study was conducted in Chipata City, a provincial headquarters for Eastern Province of Zambia during the period between March, 2021 and May, 2021. The fundamental goal of this study was to assess the application of climate change concerns in city planning in the city of Chipata. This study investigated climate change interventions factored into Chipata city planning strategies, evaluated the challenges faced to assimilate climate change adaptation considerations in the planning and examined the challenges that city residents face because of climate change in relation to city planning.

The study used a field survey using questionnaires and Focused Group Discussion to collect data. City Planners, engineers and city residents were interviewed to give a total image of city planning process and climate challenges related to city planning using a focus group discussion schedule and structured questionnaires. Quantitative data was analyzed using quantitative methods which are in SPSS version 16, while qualitative data was dissected utilizing thematic themes during the focus group discussion.

Cases were chosen using purposive sampling as the researcher intentionally wanted to gather information on City Planning using people who have knowledge of the topic under study, such as the District Planning Officer, Town Planner, Director engineering from the City Council and from the Road development agency. In addition, a random sampling method was used to gather more information from the City residents concerning climate challenges they face in relation to city planning.

Despite most respondents from the planning authority affirming that they are very much educated about climate change and its impacts; the study signposted that there is little that has been done by Chipata City (where the planning of city development hinges) to realize climate policy formulation. The majority of City planners interviewed expressed lack of much detailed information about local impacts and how they can use their expertise to tackle issues of climate change adaptation interventions in city planning and development. The results further suggested a consensus view that professional actions by planning practitioners and civic leaders (at the City level) to apply climate change adaptation interventions in city planning could benefit sustainable city development. The study has also established that lack of money and other capacities for planning and managing adaptation to climate change for a resilient city were significant barriers to progress for Chipata City. As a way of trying to help cities build resilience, central government should also increase the equalization funds to Cities and condition local authority’s access to government equalization funding on the use of specific climate-risk scenarios to assess local needs. Finally, the study identified that most communities in the city of Chipata were not developed to withstand the increasingly severe and frequent hazards that global climate change is bringing. Large and growing numbers of Chipata City residents were concerned about climate change and its effects on their neighborhood.

Keywords: Climate Change, city planning, Urban Development, Climate hazards, Climate risks, adaptation, mitigation, Application


CC Climate Change

CSO Central Statics Office

DMMU Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit

FGD Focus Group Discussion

GHGs Greenhouse Gases

IPCC Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change

JIDP Joint Integrated Development Plan

MLG Ministry of Local Government

MMDAs Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies

MTDPs Medium and Term Development Plans

NPCC National Policy on Climate Change

SDGs Sustainable Development Goals

SPSS Statistical Package for the Social Sciences

UN SDGs United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

UNEP United Nations Environment Programme

ZEMA Zambia Environmental Management Agency


1.1 Background of the study

Climate change is one of the major global challenges we face today. Gallup polls findings registered that a majority embraces the fact that corruption is the problem number one the world faces, and that is just ahead of climate change, poverty, or terrorism (Lesley, 2015). Perhaps things might not be the same as of current. Climate change might have taken the lead as problem number one the world is facing side-by-side with the COVID-19. Developing climate adaptation and mitigation measures is one such inevitable mechanism that everyone must embrace and take an active role in order to stand the changing times of our environment and our actions against climate change are really needed now more than ever to stop its negative impacts (Adriane, 2011). The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2013) argues that the earth is expected to encounter a large proportion of natural disasters and exaggerated temperatures resulting from climate change. To be more specific, the following are the risks expected: flooding and strong winds will increase; coastal erosion; water shortages due to episodes of drought and reduced soil moisture; exacerbation of heat in urban areas coming from increased temperatures, worsening in air quality, and death tolls that are heat related and other unexpected issues that are fundamentally connected with climate change (Sova et al., 2014).

The world’s future population growth is projected to occur in Africa, and most especially in cities as city amenities are attracting people from rural areas. Population will occur due to the normal increment of populace and rural to metropolitan relocation. In developing countries, urbanization is taking place at a faster rate as individuals move from villages to cities in order for them to get comfortable urban communities in anticipation of acquiring a superior way of life (UN-Habitat, 2009). The United Nations Human Settlement Program gauges that in 30 years to come, 66% of the world’s population will live in metropolitan regions; 90% of urban development will happen in less developed regions like East Asia, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa (UN-Habitat, 2018). This makes climate planning for cities an even greater primacy (Cobbinal & Addaney, 2019). To be able to adjust effectively to the coming threats of climate related impacts, municipal governments will need to protect communities such as informal settlements where vulnerable people live, to ensure that people in these settlements have adequate and meaningful risk-reducing infrastructure such as water control systems, storm water drains, bridges in order to minimize the impacts on cities likely to be affected. Other measures include; building housing durable enough and designed to the standards necessary to withstand the climatic occurrences being experienced and water and sanitation facilities (UN-Habitat, 2018).

In other words, cities should be planning with climate change in mind, by including advanced system of fortification such as resilient infrastructure to withstand the climate occurrences being experienced, drainage ways responsible for clearing water from the city after heavy rainfall. Urban planners can help alleviate heat island impacts by extending metropolitan green spaces, creating metropolitan ranger service programs where the quantity of trees in urban communities is expanded, and supporting fresher sorts of development, including green rooftops and dividers (UN-Habitat, 2014). Urban forests provide air quality and abate pollution of anthropogenic GHGs emissions. Urban forests cover a range of vegetation such as shrubs, lawns and trees in cities which provide a diversity of ecological based amenities to city inhabitants, like the regulation of global climate, and the purification of air as well as opportunities for recreation and natural cooling of urban temperatures. Urban forests such as trees also protect infrastructure like houses from being blown off by strong wind. City planning is considered to be an important opportunity in tackling challenges of climate change and in building resilience to cities. No city can be on a drawn out way to more sustainable development without first tending to environmental change (UN-Habitat, 2014).

Climate consideration in city planning will ensure a well functional city where governance and service delivery systems work seamlessly, effectively and simultaneously along a range of dimensions. A functional city further ensures that deliveries of high-quality public services for all people, in both planned and informal settlements. To achieve this, City managers and planners must have power and capacity, drawn from not just policy and laws but from a financial commitment from central governments to make transformations that are required to effectively transform African cities to make them more climate-resilient. Experience from Zambian local government is that it doesn’t have the authority and resources enough to entirely succeed on its own and coupled with priorities in the operations which renders building city resilience against climate change not be treated as a priority.

Given that cities are concentrated centers of population and financial exercises, any impact or disruption, whether natural or human induced, has the potential to affect vast numbers of people. The normal effects of environmental change represent a huge test to urban communities. These effects will change from one city to another as contexts are different. For example, waterfront urban communities are helpless against rising ocean levels, to more extraordinary precipitation that improves the probability of flooding in low-lying regions and avalanches on steep slants, and to broadened heat waves that threaten cities unaccustomed to very hot summers. In each city, the most unfortunate populaces are the most helpless, in light of the fact that they have the most little adaptive capacity and their settlements are often on naturally delicate areas like steep slants, floodplains, waterfront shores and waterway banks which have a high openness to climatic dangers like flooding and avalanches (UN-Habitat, 2018). Further, institutional and political segregation of informal communities arising from not perceiving these settlements as integral part of the larger city fabric, bring about the absence of hazard decreasing framework, for example, storm water channels, legitimate streets, extensions and water (UN-Habitat, 2018). This will result in reducing climate resilience among the poor communities in urban areas. Building resilience and adjusting to climate change is in this manner a high need for urban areas. Yet city managers and planning practitioners serving the urban poor often point out that the multiple competing priorities of today are challenging enough; paying attention to uncertain future climate impacts is thus seen as a lower priority. In light of this, better appreciation of the co-benefits from urban poverty reduction and adaptation to climate change is needed. In fact, urban planning and management interventions have the potential to address land tenure issues, biodiversity conservation concerns, and local resilience to climate change which are related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal number 11 Which is committed to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable by ensuring access to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services for all by 2030, including by upgrading slums (UN-Habitat, 2018).

With effective planning, there is the urgency to improve existing infrastructures, adding resilience to public institutions, bring in modern industries and technologies that are agro-based. Effective planning further entails job creation, introduction of clean energy systems that depends on natural energy sources like wind, biogas, sun, and biomass to achieve a zero-net-carbon energy in housing and for other use (Sustainable Housing Guidelines, 2016).

Zambian cities like Chipata are no exception to the effects of climate change. Given its hilly statue, much of its forests are ravaged by deforestation owing to charcoal production and its proximity to the Indian Ocean in Mozambique. Understanding the hazard proximity and perceived risk from cyclones, storms or strong winds is very important among coastline inhabitants or those that live near the possible impacted area.

An example is given of how Cyclone Idai impacted major parts of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and part of Malawi (Alberto et al., 2020).

1.2 Statement of the problem

Chipata is Zambia’s 5th declared city with an estimated area of 1807 square kilometers and one of the quickest developing urban communities (JIDP, 2021). The city has 141,800 inhabitants. This is projected from the 2010 census using the annual population change of 4.79% between 2000 and 2010 (CSO, 2010). Chipata City has encountered three floods since 2017 as a result of extreme weather events, resulting in great economic losses in the city. In 2017, thirty houses were flooded and household items worth millions of kwacha destroyed in Chipata’s Old Jim compound (Lusaka Times: 18th January, 2017). The damaged houses were built in the flood prone areas with no proper drainage system to clear storm water in the neighborhood. The damage to infrastructure is further aggravated because most housing in the City especially in informal settlements are not designed to the norms important to withstand strong winds being experienced and most of these housing are built on dangerous sites, where the family has minimal comprehension of the disaster risks they confront and have not many choices to secure themselves (JIDP, 2021). Because these housing are built with compromised materials and without building permission, they easily develop openings, breaks, stripping paint and spilling rooftops, an express that represents a danger to the wellbeing and actual prosperity of its inhabitants and neighbors. A similar incidence happened the year 2021 when houses were washed away in Mthira Nsembe Compound due to strong waters that passed through the City residence from hills without a proper run off system (Chipata District Disaster Preparedness Report to DMMU, 2021). The disastrous results of the event were due not only to a natural disaster of extreme intensity but also to a combination of institutional failures, poor preparedness and extremely high vulnerability of the urban poor in Chipata Urban informal settlements. Chipata City is located in between the hills. This topography makes the city vulnerable to running water from the hills especially during heavy downpour, and this affect many communities especially those whose area lacks proper drainage system.

Flooding in the city is further caused by solid waste which is littered anyhow by city residents. Solid waste accumulation especially one that is thrown into water streams and drainages will lead to blocking of channels, with its subsequent inundation, damages, and public health concerns. Further, Chipata City’s primary source of energy supply for cooking is from charcoal and firewood and there seem to be a well collaborated complicity between the rural charcoal producers and the urban charcoal consumers in challenging the efforts of cutting down emissions. Greenhouse (GHG) discharges from customary wood energy which contribute 2–7 percent of the worldwide anthropogenic outflows every year (FAO, 2017) and it is the same greenhouse gases that cause massive changes of the global climate, leading to exaggerated warming of the earth which will cause flash floods, droughts and extreme temperatures which in the end becomes unbearable for city residents.

Since cities are intense centers of population and are home to over half of the world’s assets and economic activities (World Bank, 2010), an impact or disruption, be it natural or human caused, has the impending prospective effect to the majority. For instance, floods will affect vast numbers in the city, while the same degree of floods will affect a few if it occurred in rural set up, since rural households are scattered compared to those in the city. With the pervasive threats of climate change effects on Cities, the application of Climate Change adaption interventions into City Planning is becoming a prime issue. Climate Change will contribute significantly to the multiplication of urban risks and achieving the agenda for 2030 on Sustainable Cities will prove futile without first addressing climate change concerns (UN-Habitat, 2014).

The question however, is, has cities in Zambia integrated climate change concerns in their planning of cities? City planning involves among other issues; land use which would help to reduce the number of properties at risk to flooding and storm water damage, infrastructure development through building codes and design standards for more resilient structures to flooding. Other factors involved in city planning include; city services, ecological planning, strong and waste management, housing and building improvement, and site plan (UN-Habitat, 2014). Planning of City cannot be circumvented if climate change is to be methodically tacked in cities (Declan & Katharine, 2021). While there is an urgent need for urban planners to develop a robust and clear strategy for dealing with climate impacts, there is very little knowledge about how planners and households are able to address the challenges posed by climate change. Further, much attention in climate change fight has centered on national level actions and much of these interventions are done in an ad-hoc manner (NPCC, 2016), with little knowledge about such actions being carried out in particular cities. Realizing that there was scanty information in Zambia on the application of climate change adaptation interventions into city planning, this study, assessed the levels at which cities in Zambia incorporate climate change interventions with a focus on Chipata City.

1.3 Aim of the Study

The aim of the study was to explore the application of climate change adaptation interventions in city planning for building a resilient city of Chipata.

1.3.1 Objectives

The research objectives were to;

i. Analyze the climate change adaptation interventions used by city planners in the city of Chipata.
ii. Assess the inclusion of policies and legislations related to adaptation interventions in city planning.
iii. Examine challenges faced by city residents in relation to climate change effects in city planning.

1.3.2 Research questions

i. What are the climate change adaptation interventions used by city planners in city of Chipata?
ii. What policy and legislation inclusions related to adaptation interventions are factored into city planning?
iii. What are the challenges faced by city residents in relation to climate change effects in city planning?

1.4 Significance of the Study

This study into the application of climate change adaptation interventions in City Planning will help to contribute to existing knowledge on how urban planning can be made to effectively tackle climate change in cities. The study will further bring to light the areas where this process is progressing and the areas where it is lagging behind. For instance, through this study, City planners will understand the value of resilient infrastructure and drainage systems for making cities withstand the impacts of climate change. Further, good practices which are already existent in the City, like gardens and parks management and solid waste management will be encouraged further through this study as these contribute to mitigation efforts of limiting atmospheric GHG. Finding gaps where the factoring of climate change adaptation interventions into City Planning process is excelling and where it is not, will help to find possible solutions so that the consideration of climate change concerns into urban planning can continue to run smoothly. This study will also help to raise awareness to Government leaders, City Planners and City residents about adaptation interventions related to City Planning and hence continue to foster its implementation through policies for resilient cities.

1.6 Conceptual framework

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1. 1: Conceptual Framework Source: Field Survey (2020)

The conceptual framework shown in figure 1.1 given above is an illustration constructed to define the causal relationship between the Climate hazards or climate strategies and the climate impacts or resilience. In this case, climate hazards and climate strategies are viewed as independent variables which will influence the outcome variables of challenges and resilience and that is dependent on the moderate and intervening variable which is the status of the city and policies that guide the city’s development.

For example, if the climate hazards such as extreme temperatures and floods as well as strong winds increases, then the more difficult it becomes for cities without climate consideration in their development. Then the opposite happens if the climate change adaptation interventions are factored into city planning, this will bring about resilience to cities.

Thus, the findings will determine as to whether climate hazards in cities are aggravated as a result of city planning that leaves out climate change consideration or not. Thus, this study will determine the relationship between climate hazards and challenges that comes as a result of lack of the incorporation of climate change adaptation interventions into city planning. Lastly, the study will test the relationship between response strategies (adaptation and mitigation) for addressing climate change in relation to resilience. Thus, if these strategies are factored into city planning as a moderating variable, will the result be resilience or not?

1.7 Theoretical framework

This study was guided by the collaborative planning theory. A significant number of the thoughts around collaborative planning hypothesis are credited to the original works of Patsy Healey. The theory emerged as a leading theoretical construct in the late 1990s, mainly in response to the difficulties that characterized the use of top-down hierarchical approaches in the provision and delivery of urban services and infrastructure (Beauregard, 2005). The theory evolved out of previous debates around the desirability, timeliness and effectiveness of various planning dispositions in the late 20th century (Ralf, 2007). This approach which challenges sectoral divisions in the delivery of services and between public and private provision, emphasizes the need for partnership and collaboration in the management of cities in the time of climate change issues. While collaborative planning is still seen by many as a challenge to ‘normal’ ways of doing things, it has in reality, proved to be very difficult to resist, given its popularity since the 1990s (Healey, 2003).

As an approach to the management of cities, collaboration is in effect not new, given that even before its induction, a lot of direct organizational lobbying and partnerships existed, particularly in the development of policies. What is new about the collaborative planning approach relates to two fundamental issues (Healey, 2003). The first is the presentation of planning as an interactive process, which involves the action of a variety of ‘stakeholders’. This is related to the second, which views planning as a governance process, whereby communities are managed “in complex and dynamic institutional environments” with the interactions shaped (but not determined) by wider socio-structural forces.

Collaborative planning is more practice-based; given the recognition it gives to the power that communities can exert in improving the quality of local settlements. Its underlying goal is to ensure inclusiveness in plan-making as well as bring to light the importance of ‘place’ and the diversities of culture that are frequently overlooked by traditional forms of planning.

One key assumption of this approach is that through collaboration, planning practices will become more democratic with communities becoming increasingly empowered as they are brought on board in the planning process to reason together. Underlying this is the belief that through collaboration, different forms of knowledge and reasoning can be shared to promote social learning, enhance capacity and remove institutional barriers to creative actions against climate change adaptation interventions. The assumption that collaboration is sufficient to remove the rudiments of power that pervade the planning process has brought the approach into sharp scrutiny with many critics accusing it of having ignored, rather than engaged with, the power relations that permeate the practical context in which planning processes takes place (Healey, 2007). This theory best fits for this study as it will help to determine the relationship between the government and the community members in trying to fight against climate change as they incorporate climate change into city planning.

1.8 Chapter Summary

This chapter introduced the matter under study which is climate change interventions into city planning using the lens of Chipata City. The chapter looked at the main challenge arising from climate change especially in relation to city planning which are extreme temperatures and increased precipitation patterns resulting in potential impacts of flooding, property damage, and the exaggerated urban heat island effect. The chapter further earthed climate change distresses affecting Chipata City and how Climate city planning can ominously ease the risk of climate change impacts on people, assets and livelihoods in urban areas. The chapter also looked at the objectives as pathways to understand climate change adaptation interventions that are factored into city planning. The then next chapter looks at the surveyed scholarly publications (books, journal articles, government reports and other relevant documents) on the topic under study.


2.1 Introduction

This chapter looks at the literature review. In this chapter the study surveyed scholarly publications (books, journal, articles, government reports and other relevant documents) on the topic under study: The application of climate change adaptation interventions into city planning. The chapter will provide an overview of current knowledge on climate change adaptation interventions in city planning, to allow the identification of relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research.

2.2 Climate Change Causes and Effects

Climate change is one of the comprehensive worldwide ecological changes ready to effectively affect the natural and human systems, economies and infrastructure advancement. The observed changes in climates are mainly caused because of the enhancement of atmospheric greenhouse gases, especially carbon as a result of human activities and the failure of the environment to stalk or store carbon dioxide, a situation that will result into accrual of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases are those gaseous constituents of the atmosphere, both natural and human induced that absorbs and re-emits infrared radiation (NPCC, 2016). Greenhouse gases capture heat and later releases it back to the atmosphere resulting in global warming and the increase in the earth’s average temperatures (IPCC, 2014). The world and especially countries in Africa are at present encountering environment change prompted risks, which incorporate dry spell and droughts, occasional and streak floods and contemptible temperatures (NPCC, 2016). A portion of these hazards, particularly dry seasons and floods have intensified in recurrence and power in the course of recent many years. The climate hazards mentioned above have adversely left significant impacts on infrastructure in urban areas, such as the quality of water and sanitation, energy and sustainable living of both the urban poor (UN-Habitat, 2020). The dangers related with environmental change require an expansive range of strategy reactions and systems beginning with communities, districts, regions and worldwide level. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) highlights two fundamental response strategies to addressing climate change: mitigation and adaptation (UNFCCC, 1992).

While mitigation seeks to prevent or slow down the increase of atmospheric GHG concentrations by limiting current and future emissions and enhancing potential sinks for GHG (NPCC, 2016); adaptation looks to change natural or human frameworks in light of real or anticipated stimuli or their effects, which moderates damage or endeavour helpful opportunities (IPCC, 2001). An example of mitigation measure is changing from our overly dependence on fossil fuels for energy use (cooking and heating) in homes to renewable forms of energy which achieves a no net carbon emissions. Adaptation has to do with understanding that from now on, we are living in a changed environment and so, we must change our mind-set to suit the changing environment. Urban communities which are projected to be home for the greater part of the total population by 2050 (United Nations, 2018) are not immune to the impacts of climate change hence the need to look for measures to make these communities resilient to the changing times of the environment.

2.3 Climate Change and City Planning

Public concern about climate change is rising. The number and impact of climate-driven disasters is increasing and spreading, with country’s emergency relief and response to these disasters costing billions of dollars annually (Plastrik, 2020). Cities and towns in developing countries face numerous climate challenges (UN-Habitat, 2014). Some of the potential primary impacts include, but not limited to; ground water depletion, degraded air quality, increased flooding, drought and the exaggerated urban heat island effect. "Urban heat islands" arise the moment towns replace natural land cover with dense concentrations of pavement, buildings, and different surfaces that soak up and hold heat. This effect increases energy expenses such as for air conditioning. The effect will further increase air pollution and heat-related illness and mortality (UN-Habitat, 2014).

In any case, urban areas are the centres of monetary, political and social action, and focuses of information and advancement. With their resources, they will assume a significant part in creating and carrying out environmental change transformation and moderation activities and techniques (UN-Habitat, 2014). Urban communities and towns are basic to environmental change alleviation and variation. Generally, emphasis on climate change and environmental management in urban planning has been made as a key policy area that can help to deal with the impacts of climate change in cities. UN-Habitat (2009), reports that good management of development in cities is by reducing climate change effects since a city that is planned in a good manner will use resources such energy and the land in a sustainable way. This makes city planning the panacea in adjusting urban areas to environmental change impacts, and in moderating GHG discharges.

The job of urban planning apparently is especially critical in managing climate change , since most municipal governments making urban planning decisions also have a great deal of influence over emission sources and the range of adaptation activities that take place in the city. City planning, therefore, plays a critical role for mitigating emissions and adapting to climate change. For example, City planning supports moderation on greenhouse gas emissions by working with activities to address the impractical utilization of energy in structures, industries, and transport, through discouraging sprawl and guaranteeing that building development and redesigning satisfies adequate guidelines. Further, urban planning lessens vulnerability of city residents through a variety of adaptation actions on hazards and safeguarding a development of new settlements in unstable locations. Thus, city planning will help to control and organize the design of urban living and growth in order to make sure that social functions develop in accord with the urban fabric and that city development is balanced and sustainable (Lima et al., 2020).

2.4 Climate change Adaptation and City Planning

The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change defines adaptation as, an adjustment in a natural or human system in response to actual or expected stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploit beneficial opportunities (IPCC, 2001). Adapting Cities to climate change and prevent future negative climate related impacts will require more attention to making cities resilient to the effects that climate change is pausing. According to Olazabal (2019) in 2006 London (United Kingdom) and Durban (South Africa) are on record as cities that began including climate change in their approaches and plans with the goal that frameworks, networks, biological systems and foundations were prepared for its most probable effects.

So far, there have been strides made when it comes to studies along the lines of monitoring progress on climate change urban adaptation. A huge scope investigation of 885 European urban areas tracked down that just 47% have transformation designs set up, be they cantered around adaptation (26%) or a mix of adaptation and mitigation (Olazabal, 2019). Olazabal (2019) further articulates that in December 2016 a study was undertaken that made use of an information base of 401 worldwide urban areas with more than 1 million occupants uncovered that merely 18% reported adaptation drives. Adaptation endeavours should likewise secure the defenceless against climate change impacts. Most often planning naturally revolves around scheming for the events that have a high chance of taking place but then their impact is not much. We altogether turn a blind eye to those whose likelihood is not high but their damage could be very devastating.

If we look at the 5% of the worst cases, this may have telling economic, social and environmental effects. Hurricane Sandy is the case in point, which struck New York City in 2012 after which, the city put up a stronger, more resilient plan that was released in 2013(Olazabal, 2019). This work likewise recognized the need to characterize the degree of hazard that urban areas would acknowledge. To reduce the risk of floods in the most exposed areas in Bilbao, Spain, the city opened the Deusto canal. The task will take care of lessening the extent of the effects from expanding rainfalls and elevated tides, yet can't dispose of them totally (Olazabal, 2019). The notion questions have to do with whether current city plans think about climatic dangers. Then it is interesting to know how much risk cities plan for. There is an on-going research project that tracks urban adaptation efforts in 136 coastal cities (Olazabal, 2019). There has been documentation of adaptation-related policies in these cities that have an impact on coastal management and it is important to take into account not only of local policies, but also regional and national ones.

Protecting biodiversity and coastal ecosystems and controlling urbanization in areas that tend to erode, as Montevideo does, is a good indicator of future adaptability to extreme events (Olazabal, 2019). An evaluation of the six metropolitan Medium and Term Development Plans (MTDPs) for the 2014–2017 planning period in Ghana indicates that while all the six development plans saw climate change adaptation as important in their plans; only two of them developed adaptation strategies to answer to climate change. About four out of the six plans looked at, had objectives that were clearly targeting adaptation or mitigations measures to climate change impacts in their local plans. There are also disparities among the plans in the way they idealize the scope and depth of climate change. This has had a negative effect on the ability of planning professionals to judge, expect, estimate and plan for the impacts of climate change in the design of their land use plans.

There ought to be the paradigm shift that suggests putting the spatial or physical planning departments of Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) at the center to advocate for climate change adaptation through land use controls and development guidelines. By taking this route, those charged with the noble responsibility of planning, have to undergo the necessary training so that they are in a position to pick out, examine and project the impacts of climate change and be able to come up with workable ideas suited for adaptation that are localized.

Collaboration between planning professionals and climate change strategists to mobilize resources and experience together for a consolidated and impact-driven adaptation measures to climate change is recommended highly. Another very important aspect is the need for a comprehensive review of the national and local plans to target climate change and its impacts in adapting to climate change and protecting the ecosystem from vulnerabilities associated with climate change and variability.

Notwithstanding urban planning and design are many times said to be key drivers to cut down climate change impacts. What is required for adaptation planning basically in any city is a sound analysis of possible climate impacts but this is a big challenge and at the same time complicated in the sense that we cannot be certain on what future climate impacts might be for a given city, although our knowledge and modeling capabilities are constantly improving an example with downscaling climate models. Urban areas can be included in regional climate models, using the cases of Athens, Cairo, London, and Moscow. Urban buildings and structures take in heat during the daytime and take it out at night, leading to an increase in night time temperatures. Future heat - waves may be underestimated if fine-tune features at the urban scale are not included in model simulations. It stands for another important step in bringing the fields of disaster risk management and climate change adaptation closer (Bahocfen et al., 2015). Although both communities of practice have the common aim to support decision making under uncertainty, they have largely operated in isolation from each other until recently (Tearfund 2008). In Climate change adaptation for cities, we seek to build resilient infrastructure to the effects of climate change, structures that will stand in case of a disaster. This will ensure a smart development, and a smart development is a result of smart planning that has resilience as one of its main aims and today resilience is a necessary component for disaster reduction and enhancing sustainable development (Moraci et al., 2018).

2.5 Climate Change Mitigation and City Planning

Mitigation refers to efforts that seek to prevent or slow down the increase of atmospheric GHG concentrations by limiting current and future emissions and enhancing potential sinks for greenhouse gases (NPCC, 2016). Addressing the intricate challenges of climate change in cities is not mechanically done in categories in terms of mitigation or adaptation. By and large, broad and integrated approaches, which include both mitigation and adaptation strategies and the synergies between them, are important in fully addressing this challenge (Neeraj et al., 2009). They also offer opportunities for cities to identify and take advantage of co-benefits; for example, to invest in energy efficiency in buildings can both reduce GHG emissions in cities and increase resilience in the face of more extreme weather conditions (Sustainable Housing Guidelines, 2016). In existing housing in cities, it is estimated that savings of up to 30% of energy consumption can be readily achieved (Sustainable Housing Guidelines, 2016). In new housing, where passive strategies, energy efficient equipment and renewable energy systems are used, energy consumption can be very low, and may even be carbon-neutral. Carbon neutral buildings have effectively no net carbon emissions as they have renewable energy systems that meet all their energy requirements and avoid carbon emissions associated with energy generated using fossil fuels. According to the International Energy Agency, buildings currently account for 40 per cent of energy use in most countries, with projections that demand in this sector will increase by 60 per cent by 2050 (United Nations Environment Programme, 2019). This is larger than either the transportation or industrial sector. As major centers of consumption and production, cities are great energy consumers and as a result, major greenhouse gas emitters (UN-Habitat, 2014). The dependency on fossil fuel for cooking and transport; and electricity for heating, cooling, lighting, and other day-to-day activities increases in tandem with the growth of sprawling cities.

In Zambia, 75% of the country's energy supply is from charcoal and firewood (NPCC, 2016) and there seem to be a well collaborated complicity between the rural charcoal producers and the urban charcoal consumers in challenging the whole effort of dramatically cutting down emissions. The energy that cities consume and the associated emissions they produce can be attributed primarily to building construction, cooling, heating and electrification, vehicle use, industry and manufacturing (UN-Habitat, 2014).

Mitigation in Cities is a key component of climate change planning. Multiple urban planning considerations help to determine the level and intensity of these emissions, including how we arrange our cities, population densities, and how we move in and through cities (UN-Habitat, 2014). Planning on how people move through cities also matters enormously to emissions. Community density, ease of multi-modal transit, space for varying non-vehicular traffic such as bicycles, scooters and pedestrians must all be considered. That means finding new ways to use our existing car-driven infrastructure and prioritizing micro-mobility.

Cities can take a leaders role in mitigating climate change, reducing greenhouse gases used in energy systems (e.g. the energy used for transportation, electricity, heating, industrial processes, and waste disposal) and containing urban areas to minimize land clearing (UN-Habitat, 2014).

City planners can contribute to mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions through actions such as: Supporting and leading more sustainable, compact urban design, encouraging and facilitating new green building technologies and development since buildings are major energy consumers and greenhouse gas emitters in both their construction and operation (UN-Habitat, 2014). Other interventions that City Planners can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in cities include, improving transport networks with options that both reduce urban traffic congestion and support greener modes of transport (public transport, bus transport, cycling, walking), Supporting sustainable energy production and distribution systems (e.g. urban solar and wind power, district energy systems), supporting the conservation and rehabilitation of ecosystems for the mitigation services they provide like carbon sinks provided by forests (UN-Habitat, 2014). In City Councils there is an officer under housing department who is charged with making sure that gardens and parks in the city are maintained. In trying to enforce mitigation, this position may be further emphasized as a measure. Apart from that City Planners may also emphasize on the existing national standards for vehicle emissions and building codes (Sustainable Housing Guidelines, 2016). Moreover, cities in their planning process are supposed to engage partners beyond the municipality to achieve action on mitigation, for instance working together with the forest department to mitigate levels of charcoal entering the city. Further, the city planners need to work with partners from the energy sector to ensure promotion of renewable forms of energy in preference to energy from fossil fuels within the city.

2.6 Climate challenges faced by city residents in relation to city planning

Due to climate change, the earth is at present warming so fast. This presents a stern challenge, with the unescapable imminent climate impacts on natural systems, but also on human societies, as evaluated in the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007). These challenges are projected to be severe on cities whose development has rare consideration of the impacts of potential changes to the climate in the planning process (UN-Habitat, 2020). If nothing is done to address climate change in city planning and the warming situation is allowed to continue, the severity of these impacts will even become worse.

Urban areas concentrate riches, populations, and productivity, yet they likewise concentrate vulnerability to catastrophic events and to long haul changes in environment (Daniel et al., 2011). Vulnerability changes relying upon hazards exposure and the city's ability to adapt constantly; these thus rely upon elements like settlement quality and infrastructure provision. Communities in cities face a range of challenges due to climate induced hazards and Marginalized communities in informal settlements are particularly vulnerable to climate change (UN-Habitat, 2020). Most informal settlements are not well planned and with unsafe housing structures since they build without building permission.

Among the major challenges of climate change impacts for cities are sea level rise, flooding, problems of water availability and resources, exaggerated urban heat island effect, human medical conditions, lack of energy, and harm to city foundation and the environment (UN-Habitat, 2014). Higher and increasing average temperatures will lead to upsurge of mortality and illness as a result of heat with its subsequent heat stress, and extreme temperatures will further increase the vector habitat for disease (UN-Habitat, 2018). This will be worse in the rising informal settlements where there are no public open spaces, poor ventilation housing which will lead to higher indoor temperatures. This is where planning becomes critical in trying to improve construction plan, put up health services that can be accessed at the local level, offer and invest in greening of city spaces. Climate change-incited flooding will result into greatest hazards in numerous urban areas the world over where it will conceivably prompt disturbances in systems of people’s welfare and properties. Flooding will be because of substantial precipitation and changes in the built environment. The scale, span and impacts of flooding will be generally influenced by different factors like geology, vegetation, soils, land use and urbanization (Douglas et al., 2008; Few, 2003). The flooding situation will further be aggravated in some cities due to poor road and drainage construction systems and the clogging of drainage ways as a result of poor waste management. Once solid waste accumulates especially in drainages, it prevents the proper functioning of existing drainage channels to let water run through smoothly, occasioning inundation, damages, and health concerns to the public (World Bank, 2017).

Climate change will also impact human health in cities. Changing precipitation patterns and rising temperatures are already liable for the extension of the disease vector habitat spaces. For instance, illnesses such as malaria are spreading to regions where they were not common prevalent.


Excerpt out of 83 pages


The Application of Climate Change Interventions in City Planning
A case of Chipata City
Climate Change and Sustainable Development
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ISBN (Book)
city planning, climate change, resilient city, Sustainable Cities
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Pemphe Philimon Kalanga (Author), 2021, The Application of Climate Change Interventions in City Planning, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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