Many cities lack climate adaptation plans

Many cities lack climate adaptation plans

2 November 2020

Only one in four European cities have any adaptation plan for coming climate changes. There is still time to act – but we urgently need to raise the pace.

The worst flooding disaster in more than 100 years recently hit southern France and northern Italy, with the French coastal city of Nice as one of those hit the worst. Extreme climate-related weather events in our cities are expected to occur with increasing frequency and size during the coming decades. 

Today, however, only 26 percent of Europe’s cities have any adaptation plan for coming climate changes. And among these cities, most are struggling with implementation due to obstacles from inflexible organisations to incompatible regulations.

In a new report, Sweco wants to guide cities to how to accelerate climate adaptations in order to keep up with the challenges of climate change. 
“Through interviews and extensive research, we have identified four trends within city planning and climate adaptation that are clear obstacles and challenges for city planners. Based on these trends, we have collected ten best-practice cases from leading European cities on how to successfully solve these”, says Jonathan A. Leonardsen, Market Director for Urban Resilience and Development.  

In Rotterdam, for example, connectivity between innovative blue-green roofing and the public water squares that lie at street level is a principal component of adaptive planning for extreme weather events. In Berlin, the introduction of split tariffs for stormwater and sewage management has transformed funding availability for large- and small-scale adaptation interventions. And in Barcelona, the Trees Masterplan aims to exceed EU minimum standards for per capita access to green space.

"Planning for Climate Adaptation" is the fifth in a series of Urban Insight reports from Sweco on the topic Climate Action in which our experts highlight specific data, facts and science that are needed to plan and design safe and resilient future urban environments.

For additional information, please contact:

Johnny Nylund, Head of Public Relations, +46 73 773 5189,


Sweco plans and designs tomorrow’s communities and cities. Our work produces sustainable buildings, efficient infrastructure and access to electricity and clean water. With 17,500 employees in Europe, we offer our clients the right expertise for every situation. We carry out projects in 70 countries annually throughout the world. Sweco is Europe’s leading engineering and architecture consultancy, with sales of approximately SEK 20.6 billion (EUR 1.9 billion). The company is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm.