Climate Change and Potential Impacts on the Structure of Human Activities: An Analysis of the Scale of the Flanders/Belgium Region

By Björn Verhofstede and Georges Allaert.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Research into climate change is very much on the worldwide agenda and Flanders and Belgium are no different. Climate discourse in recent decades has mainly focused on the issue of mitigation. Through a better understanding and assessment of climate challenges, adaptation arises as a complementary strategy to mitigation. It is widely recognized that deltas worldwide, where high population densities, rich agricultural resources, high-value infrastructure, and large freshwater flows that converge at the sea, are potentially highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Belgium and the Netherlands are the two most vulnerable countries in the Northern Central Europe, as both are part of the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt-delta (RMS-delta). In this paper the potential impacts for the structures of human activities (i.e. residential and economic) in relation to climate change are described for the Flanders region as part of the ongoing research project CcASPAR. This acronym stands for ‘Climate change And Changes in SPAtial structures in Flanders–Research project’ (2009–2012), funded by the Flanders Institute for Innovation through Science and Technology (IWT), the project is oriented towards preparing policy in the domain of adaptation possibilities in response to climate change. The aim of the research project is to formulate a spatial adaptation strategy for Flanders. The aim of this paper is to conclude on the one hand some of Flanders’s sensitivities in relation to the expected primary effects of climate change. On the other hand a reflection is made on a methodology to formulate preconditions as a scientific basis for further research by design on integrated adaptation options for the future spatial developments in function to upgrade Flanders resilience in relation to climate change challenges.

Keywords: Climate Change, Adaptation, Impacts, Sensitivity, Suitability Maps, Vulnerability, Resilience

The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.177-196. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.472MB).

Björn Verhofstede

PhD Scholar, Centre for Mobility and Spatial Planning, Department of Civil Engineering, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

Prof. Georges Allaert

Professor, Centre for Mobility and Spatial Planning, Department of Civil Engineering, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium


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