Spatial planning has been identified as a critical mechanism through which climate change adaptation can be facilitated. We review the role of spatial planning as a tool for adaptation to climate change. In doing so, we describe common planning processes and tools. Six capacities of spatial planning that have the potential ability to facilitate climate change adaptation are identified and discussed. These principally relate to spatial planning's ability to: act on matters of collective concern; manage competing interests; cut across scales; reduce and act on uncertainty; act as a knowledge repository; and be oriented to the future while integrating a range of diverse systems. Methods (tools) for planning which have the capacity to address climate change adaptation are presented and discussed. In light of these capacities and acknowledged limitations in planning practice, we identify three key challenges to spatial planning for adaptation: (1) developing conviction; (2) facilitating equitable processes and outcomes; and (3) transforming planning systems from passive to proactive. WIREs Clim Change 2012 doi: 10.1002/wcc.183
For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.