2050 City Megagrowth The Role of Planning, Finance and Impact Assessment

Think Big Panel 5


The presentation provides an overview of the tools available in planning, environmental management, and climate change.  It outlines the value and limitation of each of the tools, highlighting how they should be selected based on the requirements. The presentation concludes with how to mainstream climate change in the various tools to build greater resilience in urban planning and achieve successful climate change adaptation.


Philippa Burmeister (0:53) Philippa has been involved in integrated environmental management for the past 20 years. Her career started in planning which, with her environmental qualifications, resulted in a focus on identification of environmental opportunities and constraints to ensure sustainable use of natural resources to efficiently meet socio-economic needs. More recently she has specialized in Air Quality and Climate Change.


The GreenBook is an online planning support system that provides quantitative, multi-disciplinary evidence of climate risks at local municipal level in support of South Africa’s pursuit in the planning and design of climate-resilient, hazard-resistant settlements. It also provides a range of adaptation actions. It is freely available at www.greenbook.co.za.


Willemien Van Niekerk (11:15) Willemien is a principal researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa. A professional urban planner, she has over 25 years’ experience as a consultant, lecturer and researcher working in multi- and interdisciplinary environments. She is an innovator, developer, and manager of the GreenBook project.


In this presentation, Dr Gorelick shares his views on the most significant obstacles for cities in achieving their long-term development goals, highlighting a lack of familiarity with international best practices for accessing funding for project delivery and an underdevelopment of projects.  He closes with promising information for cities, particularly around the prospect of technical assistance from key development partners.


Jeremy Gorelick (31:01)  Dr. Jeremy Gorelick is a development finance practitioner with over 20 years of experience in capital for climate-smart urban infrastructure.  He has advised bilateral and multilateral aid agencies and development finance institutions on the most effective programming for their contributions towards a more sustainable planet, resulting in over US$ 4 billion in flows and transactions closed.


Climate change has already changed the policies in Basel: after the climate emergency resolution of the city parliament in 2019, the delegates demanded a climate smart policy in all fields of the Basel administration. A comprehensive strategy on how to deal in the short-term with climate adaption was demanded, besides requiring boosting all ongoing activities regarding climate mitigation and de-carbonisation. As a result, climate change was placed as one of the top three priorities of Basel legislation.

In 2021, the Urban Planning Division of Basel administration completed the Urban Climate Adaption Concept, which was consequently adopted by the city council as a compulsory document/basis for planning. The Urban Climate Adaption Concept gives the Basel urban planning division a road map to face the climate challenges at a strategic as well as implementation level.

Nevertheless, the responsible Basel administration of urban planning is still at the beginning in effectively facing climate change adaption. Thanks to the clear and strong political commitment of the city council, projects are currently developing very fast, requiring know-how transfer – lessons learned by other cities are hence of major interest. This also applies to methods and tools relating to impact assessment and there integration into urban/regional planning.


Sussane H. Fischer (42:14) Susanne is an urban and environmental planner, specialized in transborder planning and sustainability. She holds a postgraduate degree (1997, master level) in national, regional, and local Planning from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ). She is deputy head of the regional planning section at the department of public works and transport of the canton Basel-Stadt.


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