1st Edition

Adapting Infrastructure to Climate Change Advancing Decision-Making Under Conditions of Uncertainty

By Todd Schenk Copyright 2018
    254 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    264 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Many of the challenges that decision-makers grapple with in relation to climate change are governance related. Planning and decision-making is evolving in ambiguous institutional environments, in which many key issues remain unresolved, including relationships between different actors; funding arrangements; and the sources and procedures for vetting data. These issues are particularly acute at this juncture, as climate adaptation moves from broad planning processes to the management of infrastructure systems. Concrete decisions must be made.

    Adapting Infrastructure to Climate Change draws on case studies of three coastal cities situated within very different governance regimes: neo-corporatist Rotterdam, neo-pluralist Boston and semi-authoritarian Singapore. The book examines how infrastructure managers and other stakeholders grappling with complex and uncertain climate risks are likely to make project-level decisions in practice, and how more effective decision-making can be supported. The differences across governance regimes are currently unaccounted for in adaptation planning, but are crucial as best practices are devised. These lessons are also applicable to infrastructure planning and decision-making in other contexts.

    This book will be of great interest to scholars of climate change and environmental policy and governance, particularly in the context of infrastructure management.

    1. Introduction: Adapting infrastructure to climate change
    2. Learning across contrasting governance regimes
    3. Rotterdam: A neo-corporatist approach to adaptation
    4. Singapore: Adapting a strong city-state
    5. Boston: Many hands on deck in the neo-pluralist U.S.
    6. Role-play simulation exercises for social learning and collaborative problem solving
    7. Uncertain decision-making: The use of multiple scenarios
    8. Moving forward: Flexible and collaborative governance


    Todd Schenk is an Assistant Professor in the Urban Affairs and Planning Program of the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech, USA.

    "While the book’s title indicates infrastructure as a prominent feature, and its stated goal is to improve governance, the material on interactions among stakeholders in the face of uncertainty is, itself, reason enough to check out this book, because it is highly relatable to many other policy areas involving public participation and choices made in an environment of change. The look inside of a project where role-play, games, and multiple scenarios were used is quite valuable. As more public entities seek to improve their capacity for decision-making and action, these tools allow for interaction and development of sense-making skill sets, and can pay dividends in improving public sector responses."

    - Christopher L. Atkinson (2018): Theme-Based Book Review: Responding to Uncertainty and Complexity in Global Public Administration, International Journal of Public Administration, DOI: 10.1080/01900692.2018.1463542