Exploratory Scenario Planning for Climate In-Migration
Exploratory Scenario Planning for Climate In-Migration: A Guide for Cities in the Great Lakes Region describes exploratory scenario planning techniques that communities can use to develop neighborhood, city, and county scale plans. The guide also envisions several scenarios for managing population decline and vacancy while anticipating the possibility of future growth and development that is economically and ecologically sustainable, and socially just.
Many Great Lakes cities share an industrial history based on economic growth in the 19th and early 20th centuries, followed by decades of depopulation, disinvestment, and decline. As sea level rise, hurricanes, droughts, and other natural disasters destabilize areas of the United States, the Great Lakes region could become a future climate refuge.
Great Lakes cities have moderate climate and ample access to fresh water, which could draw people and businesses to the region. However, these cities also face numerous challenges that put environmental and human health at risk including an increase in extreme temperatures, more intense winter and summer storms, and widespread flooding. High percentages of pavement, sparse tree canopy, and aging infrastructure compound the risk, especially in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.
The guide aims to assist Great Lakes cities in making climate-responsive land use decisions, planning for population gains and losses, and developing scenarios about where to focus future development and where to protect land for green space and green infrastructure. Drawing on the authors’ experiences working in Northeast Ohio and Western New York, the guide shows how scenario planning can help communities determine how to best manage their vacant land inventories to support new development while buffering residents and businesses from the adverse impacts of climate variability and change.