PL4-304 Climate Change Adaptation in Spatial Planning

Course description for academic year 2020/2021

Due to Covid-19, changes may occur in course descriptions for the autumn semester of 2020. Changes in each course will be published on Studentweb or Canvas. When a course description has been changed there, the description on web is no longer valid. Examples of such changes could be accomplishment of practice, course type, or whether letter grades or passed/not passed will be used as grading scales.

Contents and structure

The course combines knowledge and theories about climate change adaptation with practical exercises related to land use planning. In the theoretical part of the course, the focus on will be on societal characteristics and changes of importance for climate change adaptation, as well as different approaches to climate change adaptation in planning. This will provide a foundation for critical reflection on different strategies for climate change adaptation, interlinkages between societal change and climate change, and interactions between climate change adaptation and mitigation.This is meant to provide the necessary background to complete the practical exercises and course work.

The practical exercises have a vocational focus, offering valuable planning experience to the students. The students will work with different countries' planning legislation, and concrete challenges related to climatic changes for spatial planning in a local context. An excursion is offered to provide insights into specific challenges that are of importance for local spatial planning.

Learning Outcome


  • Knowledge of central theories, concepts and methods of adaptation to climate change
  • Knowledge of central challenges for sustainable local climate change adaptation
  • Knowledge of societal change that influences adaptive capacity
  • Knowledge of how different factors and contexts influence adaptive capacity
  • Advanced knowledge of methods and tools for assessing the vulnerability of local communities facing climate change
  • Knowledge of different countries' legal instruments for planning for climate change adaptation
  • Advanced knowledge of advantages and challenges associated with different approaches to climate change adaptation
  • Knowledge of approaches to climate change adaptation around the world
  • Knowledge of specific challenges of planning for climate change adaptation compared to other planning processes


  • Conduct analyses and assessments relevant for spatial planning at local level
  • Understand, use and assess plans and strategies for sustainable climate adaptation in social and land-use planning
  • Select relevant theories and approaches to understand and assess adaptation measures
  • Present and discuss, in oral and written form, complex issues across scientific borders

General competence:

  • Plan with the aim of reducing vulnerability to climate change and mitigating natural disasters
  • Identify societal characteristics that influence the adaptive capacity and vulnerability to climate change
  • Coordinate measures for climate change adaptation and mitigation 
  • Communicate climate issues in social and land-use planning processes
  • Take a leading role in planning processes
  • Reflect on future perspectives on sustainable land use

Entry requirements

Completed bachelor degree of 180 ECTS

Recommended previous knowledge

It will be an advantage to have completed the following courses (or equivalent knowledge):

  • GE4-300 Climate Change and Climate Policy
  • BI4-301 Climate Change and Ecosystems
  • GE4-302 Natural hazards for land-use planning
  • PL4-303 Run-off Management

Basic knowledge of land-use planning, and the Norwegian Planning and Building Act, will be an asset.

Teaching methods

  • Lectures, seminars, exercises, group work and excursion
  • Practical exercise in planning 

Course requirements

Prerequisites for exam evaluation

  • 2 approved assignments 
  • Approved participation in excursion
  • Approved participation in seminars


Individual project assignment including planning of climate change adaptation/measures

Grading A-F, where F is not passed

Examination support material


More about examination support material