Hot in My Backyard
Visualizations of our future landscapes can help landscape
architects plan for climate change.
By David Flanders, Stephen R. J. Sheppard, ASLA, Alison
Shaw, and Sarah Burch
David Flanders, CALP/DCS, UBC
What do climate change impacts look like? How will they
affect our lives? What do low-carbon, resilient communities look like? How
would they work, and how will the necessary radical changes be made without
antagonizing local stakeholders and the public? Landscape architects and
researchers at the University of British Columbia have been working with
climate scientists, planners, engineers, and community stakeholders in the
Metro Vancouver area to provide some answers to these questions. The Local
Climate Change Visioning Project creates compelling imagery of climate change
futures and our response options to help bridge the gap between science and
The visioning packages produced in this study were driven by
two major data sources: scientific climate models and community input. Invitations
to participate in three sequential workshops were sent out to community
representatives, including residents, farmers, researchers, industry members,
and experts familiar with the area. The first workshop was an introductory
exercise, brainstorming the climate change issues relevant to the community.
The second was a collaborative mapping workshop, where participants were asked
to refine the list of issues to a mapped subset and prioritize conditions to be
visualized. The final workshop involved reviewing and refining an initial set
of visualizations with the community.
Climate Change Scenarios
The project frames climate change in four future worlds,
each relating to regionally scaled climate models:
World 1: Do Nothing. This world is a scientifically based
worst-case scenario or high-carbon world, where we have done nothing globally
or locally to adapt to or minimize the impacts of climate change.
World 2: Adapt to Risk. This world shows some proactive
design and planning adaptations needed to address the worst-case climate change
scenario pictured in World 1.
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