Land Use Planning in a Climate Change Context

RESEARCH HANDBOOK ON CLIMATE ADAPTATION LAW, Jonathan Verschuuren, ed., 2013

Albany Law School Research Paper No. 21 for 2012-2013

Drake University Law School Research Paper No. 12-33

33 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2012 Last revised: 14 Dec 2016

Keith H. Hirokawa

Albany Law School

Jonathan D. Rosenbloom

Drake University Law School

Date Written: October 30, 2012

Abstract

Although local governance is an experiment in adaptation (and often lauded for being so), climate change is distinct from traditional challenges to local governance. Nonetheless, many local governments are directing agencies to utilize existing and traditional local government tools to adapt to climate change. Local governments, for example, are adopting regulatory rules that require consideration of potential climate impacts in public-sector decisions with the goal of improving local adaptive capacity. Throughout these efforts, it is becoming clear that one of the most effective adaptation tools used by local governments is the power to plan communities. Through land use planning, local governments can increase resiliency to major climate shifts and ensure that our communities are equipped with built-in mechanisms to face and mitigate such changes. This essay identifies some of the most innovative planning tools available to local governments that illustrate the potential to plan for community resiliency. The essay begins by identifying some of the severe impacts local governments will experience from climate change. This part recognizes that not all local governments will experience climate change impacts the same, and that climate change adaptation is contextual. Part II provides an overview and inventory of traditional local governance tools, paying particular attention to zoning and nuisance laws. Part III looks more closely at specific structural tools that form the basic foundation for a wide variety of land use planning adaptation approaches and goals. The final part expands on the structural tools and explores specific mechanisms that can help local governments achieve adaptation goals and avoid catastrophic unpreparedness through proper land use planning in the climate change arena.

Keywords: climate change, local government, land use

Suggested Citation

Hirokawa, Keith H. and Rosenbloom, Jonathan D., Land Use Planning in a Climate Change Context (October 30, 2012). Albany Law School Research Paper No. 21 for 2012-2013; RESEARCH HANDBOOK ON CLIMATE ADAPTATION LAW, Jonathan Verschuuren, ed., 2013; Albany Law School Research Paper No. 21 for 2012-2013; Drake University Law School Research Paper No. 12-33. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2168925

Keith H. Hirokawa (Contact Author)

Albany Law School ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States

Jonathan D. Rosenbloom

Drake University Law School ( email )

27th & Carpenter Sts.
Des Moines, IA 50311
United States

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