Building climate resilience practices into city planning – A Vietnamese case study
Scientific studies demonstrate that climate change and its effects are likely to intensify over the coming decades. Between 1998 and 2017, more than 526,000 people died worldwide and losses of US$ 3.47 trillion (in PPP) were incurred as a direct result of more than 11 500 extreme weather events (Global Climate Index 2019). As global economies grow, expanding urban development in a business-as-usual approach has the potential to accelerate adverse climate change impacts. Redirecting the urban planning process to be shaped based on ecological and sustainable development practices, it is necessary, and possible, to alter the upward and increasing trajectory of CC impacts from urban development to significantly lower impact projection.
An ecologically sensitive approach to urban planning is necessary to plan and make the cities less vulnerable to adverse impacts of changing climate patterns. Using an analytical, GIS-based modeling approach to reshape the spatial planning process holds the potential to significantly reduce the risk to urban populations in specific, and to ecosystems and the living environment at large. Increasing efforts to reshape the spatial planning process are strengthened by sharing such experience and learnings, enabling the urban development community to incrementally work towards the objective of making Cities more climate resilient and less impactful.
Spatial Decisions was part of one such project covering three provinces of Vietnam. This project, supported by Belgian Technical Cooperation (BTC), implemented under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Government of Vietnam, developed and demonstrated the methodology for climate change analysis and hydrological studies in the context of integrated urban development in the project provinces of HaTinh, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan of Vietnam.
According to GermanWatch, Vietnam is one of the top ten most affected countries on the Global Climate Risk Index of 2017. Vietnam’s persistent weather extremes in 2017 included storms, typhoons and droughts. As reported by Vietnam’s Department of Meteorology, Hydrology and Climate Change, annual rainfall has increased up to 20% over the last 50 years, Sea level rise along Vietnam coasts is at the rate of about 2.8mm/year, annual average temperature has increased about 0.5°C during the last 50 years (1958-2007), and winter temperatures have increased faster than those of summer. It is evident that climate variability and change is already inflicting unexpected changes in several environmental parameters.
The BTC project employed research and pilot analysis on the techniques of ecological land use planning through cartographic modeling and spatial analysis to create a more sustainable process for urban growth. Spatial Decisions would like to present the learnings including what worked and what did not work at a side event at the Understanding Risk Forum, 2020. Through this discussion, we intend to discuss and identify opportunities for knowledge sharing and replication of such Climate Resilient local urban planning initiatives.
The three provinces are highly vulnerable to hydro-meteorological risks including storms, floods, and erosion. Results from this study were used to support the regional spatial plan of the river basin and the Master Plans of the urban areas of the selected provinces. Consequently a strategic spatial planning approach using sustainable urban development principles, focused on the areas around water bodies, the river mouth, the coastal edge, with the purpose of transforming the urban areas as a part of a larger eco city. The use of GIS-based tools was applied to integrate the data from the studies to support the analysis and formulation of a ‘Strategic Structural Planning’ approach.
This approach is more responsive to the increasingly complex and diverse urbanization context, the urban impact of climate change, and possible climate change risks. Analysis was conducted for climate change (downscaling), hydrology, and urban policy & trends leading to the development of a suitable methodology for strategic spatial planning using GIS as a tool to complement the urban planning process following the regulatory process as directed under national and provincial procedures. Urban reconnaissance and field studies were undertaken to assess the current state of urbanization, proposed expansion limits, and environmental and social conditions. Integration of water resource management into urban development in relation to climate change was a key component of the study.
A focal outcome of this project was the documentation and testing of a GIS-based methodology for integration of climate resilience and water resource management practices into urban development so as to reduce the vulnerabilities of an urban area. This methodology provided a clearer direction on creating hazard risk-resilient urban spaces supplemented by integrating green infrastructure and open space management for integrated water resource management. The project outcomes effectively demonstrate the potential for improved urban development as a continuous process through the iterative analytical modeling and planning process using best available data, however limited, and GIS-based tools to reinforce Urban Climate Resilience. Being an easily replicable process, this methodology can be effectively applied to address increasing urban development, resulting in improved long term growth with reduced climate change impacts.
Organizer: Spatial Decisions