USING SCENARIO PLANNING TO ENHANCE COASTAL RESILIENCE TO CLIMATE CHANGE: COMMUNITY FUTURES IN THE ESTUARINE LANDSCAPES OF BRISBANE WATER, CENTRAL COAST, AUSTRALIA
Keywords: coastal resilience, scenario planning, climate adaptation, local government, urban development
Abstract. Local governments face daunting urban planning challenges in the face of rapid population growth, increasing demand for affordable housing and climate change and divergent community perceptions. There is currently insufficient action to meet these formidable and dynamic challenges. Greater know-how and capacity development need to be invested in local planning and political authorities to promote knowledge-based action. More than two thirds of Australians reside along the coastal cities with over 15 million addresses across 544 local government areas at risk from coastal hazards from 2020 onwards (XDI, 2019). This makes it an urgent priority for local government to fast track adaptation planning for its residents in the low-lying hazard prone areas as well as Council services and infrastructure. In 2019, UNSW students from the Master of Urban Development and Design and Master of Landscape Architecture programs addressed these challenges within a design studio environment. In the studio they developed strategies for urban resilience for a network of five communities surrounding the Brisbane Waters on the Central Coast. The studio adopted an urban scenario planning approach using open source data and on-the-ground evidence to develop diverse community resilience strategies. For each community three scenarios were developed to test alternative urban design strategies and provide insight on possible contrasting futures. This paper demonstrates the benefit of evidence-based scenario planning for local authorities. Such approaches contextualise complex abstract problems and provide new insights for local climate adaptation in accessible and transparent ways. This proactive approach emphasises the need to build the urban design and planning capabilities of local authorities to enhance coastal adaption and resilience to climate change.