2050 City Megagrowth and the Value of Impact Assessment

Think Big Panel 4


The world is urbanizing rapidly. As well, climate change and biodiversity losses also multiplying and accelerating which is resulting in more frequent and intense weather events for many cities. Ottawa has experienced severe tornadoes, windstorms, ice storms, flooding and insect damage that is rapidly eroding the ecosystem fabric of Ottawa. Like many Cities, Ottawa also has to address a range of issues related to housing, poverty, infrastructure equity and transportation, but is having challenges in addressing the many environmental issues. In response, many community groups have recently  stepped up to help make Ottawa more resilient and sustainable. This talk will examine one the challenges of Ottawa planning systems and how community groups are mobilizing. 


Peter Croal (2:11) Peter is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and has a B.Sc., Geology Degree from Carleton University (1979) and has been working in the field of environmental assessment and international development for over 40 years. He focuses on the relationship between environmental management, climate change,  resource extraction, and poverty reduction in developing countries and the Arctic. Peter has been a member of IAIA since 1994.


This presentation considers the issue of growing informality in the urban fabric, exploring the role of planning and impact assessment in building towards improved practice. “Mitigating impacts to be “less negative” will not get us to a more dignified world for all – we need to shift to restorative development
which leaves no-one behind…”


Karen Shippey (22:21) Karen has a Master’s from the University of Cape Town and over 25 years of experience. As an EIA practitioner for 15 years she focussed on infrastructure projects. Moving into regional government in 2011 she became a senior manager in the Western Cape province of South Africa.
She is responsible for leadership across the Provincial Climate Change, Green Economy, Sustainability, Biodiversity and Coastal Management portfolios. Since 2017 she has also become the Gender Focal Point for the Department and developed a passion for gender mainstreaming.


This presentation is a diagnostic weaving of science(s), philosophy and spatial planning. Its objective is to provide an unorthodox understanding (in different contexts) of how Impact Assessment can be viewed. Notably, if impact assessment is viewed as a set of process tools and procedures that includes analysing affecting  the future of cities and their relationship to planetary boundary condtions – and its purpose, being, to identify alternative strategies to mitigate the risks and hazards therein as well as benefits.

As a scientist and thinker -how would Albert Einstein characterize Impact Assessment and its role in addressing the climate crisis? What would Socrates’ argument look like in the application of Impact Assessment tools to sustainable development and planning? And finally, how relevant would the questions of sanitation, and refinement of moral sentiments of society be to John Claudius Loudon (nineteenth-century Scottish city planner and landscape Architect), if he was conversant with Impact Assessment tools of today?


Ahmed Sanda (38:25) Ahmed is an Impact Assessment Consultant, with background in Economics and Environmental management/Science. He is the co-chair IAIA Tec group: engaging with Urban planners and Decision makers. He lives and runs a consultancy firm (Ashawa Consultancy) in Nigeria.


Heather M. H. Goldstone of Woodwell Climate Change Research Center. Heather is a science communicator working to put climate science in the hands of those in a position to make real-world change. She holds a Ph.D. in ocean science from M.I.T. and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and she brings to her work a decade of experience in research and another decade in journalism. She is an award-winning journalist who founded and hosted Living Lab Radio on Boston Public Radio, a weekly live-interview show about science and society, and also hosted Climatide, a US National Public Radio blog exploring the impacts of climate change on coastal communities. Her research has been featured on:

  • U.S. National Public Radio’s Morning Edition
  • U.S. Public Broadcasting Service News Hour
  • The Takeaway
  • Public Radio International (PRI’s) The World