Approaches to Scenario Planning at the Intersection of Urbanization and Climate Change
Moore, Lauren Ashley
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What could comparative analysis of scenario planning reveal about the effects of various approaches to uncertainty on the outcomes of scenario planning, and what can such analysis reveal about the opportunities, challenges, and consequences of urban adaptation to climate change? In order to answer these question, this study applies qualitative methods to analyze selected case studies of scenario planning described in the literature. I systematically review thirteen cases from the past twenty years, sharing a framework of urbanization and climate change as their primary drivers of future change, by focusing on three sets of variables including: 1) the extent of stakeholder engagement (measured by diversity and participation), 2) the processes (objective, drivers, methods, and scenario building), and 3) the outcomes (findings, evaluation, and limitations). Based on the comparison, I identify patterns that reveal strengths and weaknesses in scenario planning. I synthesize the context of each case study, variance in approaches to urbanization and climate change impacts, stakeholder engagement and inclusivity, methodologies, and the consideration of uncertainty. Key themes across the case studies include ways that scenario planning enables flexibility, adaptation, and innovation through driver selection and scenario design; methods for coping with uncertainty; and modes of citizen participation and agency in the scenario planning process. Synthesis of these themes yields insights about implications for the study of scenario planning.
- Urban planning