• Morten de Fine Olivarius
4. term, Sustaianable Cities, Master (Master Programme)
The effects of climate change are showing more often still. In Denmark, this is particularly observed with heavier and more frequent cloudbursts. These lead to flooded basements, waste water backup, and discharge of polluted water into natural water bodies; and they can cause expensive damage. To combat this, climate adaptation is a growing necessity in most urban areas of Denmark, and has increasingly become a central focus during the last few decades.

For accommodating larger amounts of rain water, the traditional approach would be to expand sewers. But this is an expensive solution, and it does not bring about other possibilities for other improvements of the urban areas. Another and increasingly popular approach is sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS). These are surface solutions handling water visibly and locally. These solutions are usually cheaper than the underground alternative, and they are beneficial as they can be combined with other foci to create additional values; including aesthetic, recreational, environmental, social, and economic values.

But SUDS are not necessarily easy to implement. As climate adaptation is a relatively new field, limited experience and knowledge exist. Further, the current legislative framework is not geared for such climate adaptation measures; possibilities are lacking, legislation is not coordinated, and rules and responsibilities are in some cases limited to certain actors. And moreover, as SUDS are placed on the surface, they are subject to a wide range of sometimes conflicting interests, compared to underground sewers that are primarily managed by technicians. This necessitates broad involvement and multisectoral cooperation.

All these challenges must be tackled by the municipal planners working with climate adaptation projects. They must navigate in the different conditions, factors, and possibilities present, to find solutions that fit their given contexts. On top of this, planning for climate adaptation projects often has transformative ambitions: it is attempted not just to solve the pressing problem of rain, but also to achieve additional values, embrace new ways of working, reconfigure actor relations, and ultimately, change the conceptions of climate adaptation and all it entails.

This makes climate adaptation projects a complex field. To succeed in implementing such projects and obtain additional values and transformative qualities, planners must work strategically and navigate in a variety of aspects. This is what this thesis studies through the research question: how can planners in Danish municipalities navigate strategically in the implementation of large climate adaptation projects related to rainwater โ€“ that include a focus on creating additional values โ€“ in order to address challenges and complexities of such projects, and realize their transformative ambitions?

This is examined through literature studies and particularly case studies of three large climate adaptation projects, namely Trekroner East, Kokkedal Climate Adaptation, and Middelfart โ€“ The Climate City. By
studying these projects, their processes, and their implementation, their planning strategies and strategic navigation are described. These are further studied and discussed in order to arrive at common drivers for climate adaptation projects, conditions that are decisive for necessary strategic navigation, and finally, five recommendations for municipal planners embarking on climate adaptation projects. Specifically, it is recommended that they should work actively with strategic planning and navigation; use the existing conditions as a point of departure; navigate in the existing legal frameworks; create common directions and shared priorities through collaborative networks; and pursue stakeholder involvement with outreach. With these aspects in mind, individual climate adaptation projects can contribute to creating general systemic transformations, benefitting all work with climate adaptation.
Publication dateAug 2020
Number of pages140
External collaboratorSweco Denmark A/S
Jonathan Leonardsen jonathan.leonardsen@sweco.dk
ID: 338101852