Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2525-2549; doi:10.3390/su4102525
Article

Incremental Change, Transition or Transformation? Optimising Change Pathways for Climate Adaptation in Spatial Planning

1 Swinburne University, Institute for Social Research, P.O. Box 218, Hawthorn, VIC 3122, Australia 2 Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture, P.O. Box 5043, 2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands 3 Wageningen University and Research Centre, P.O. Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands 4 Architects, Guyotplein 5, 9712 NX Groningen, The Netherlands
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 July 2012; in revised form: 17 September 2012 / Accepted: 24 September 2012 / Published: 3 October 2012
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Abstract: In order to incorporate climate adaptation in spatial planning change is required, because climate change impacts the way we live. This implies that spatial planning, as the arranger of the spatial organisation and layout needs to be able to support this change. Current spatial planning is not yet well equipped to play this role. In this research article three possible routes to navigate change are explored. Incremental change is seen as a slow process, which modifies the landscape only slightly. Transition is seen as a fluent change towards a new future, which is an improved version of the existing; and transformation is seen as a change towards a future that is fundamentally different from the existing. The three pathways are compared and it is concluded that transformational change offers the best perspective in dealing with uncertain, unexpected and unprecedented futures, such as developing in times of climate change. Therefore, transformation is theoretically further elaborated and it is found that a transformational change to a new system already starts at a time when the existing system still fully operates. The change to a new system (called B in this article) therefore already started and the predecessors of B already existed. These ‘B-minuses’ of the new system can be found through network analysis, where the most intense and connective nodes are the most likely ‘B-minuses’. Alternatively B-minuses can be created through locating the areas where key-nodes and existing infrastructure can be related to existing urban functions. As illustrated in the case-study design, these principles are able to guide the design of a climate proof landscape.
Keywords: spatial planning; climate adaptation; transition; transformation; resilience; complex adaptive systems

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MDPI and ACS Style

Roggema, R.; Vermeend, T.; Dobbelsteen, A. Incremental Change, Transition or Transformation? Optimising Change Pathways for Climate Adaptation in Spatial Planning. Sustainability 2012, 4, 2525-2549.

AMA Style

Roggema R, Vermeend T, Dobbelsteen A. Incremental Change, Transition or Transformation? Optimising Change Pathways for Climate Adaptation in Spatial Planning. Sustainability. 2012; 4(10):2525-2549.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Roggema, Rob; Vermeend, Tim; Dobbelsteen, Andy . 2012. "Incremental Change, Transition or Transformation? Optimising Change Pathways for Climate Adaptation in Spatial Planning." Sustainability 4, no. 10: 2525-2549.

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