Green Book: Adapting South African settlements to climate change

By Willemien Van Niekerk and Amy Pieterse

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is currently developing an innovative set of guidelines, called the Green Book, to support the processes of adapting existing and future South African settlements to climate change. The Green Book aims to support local government decision-making by presenting evidence for adapting settlements to climate related risks and vulnerabilities, as well as the necessary guiding principles to do so. The guidelines will address aspects such as disaster risk reduction; spatial structuring; land use management; bulk services and critical infrastructure; municipal service delivery; mobility networks; public transport; public health; social facilities; ecosystem services; and food security.

The Green Book will provide local municipalities with access to risk profiles for all built-up areas in South Africa with a population below two million people. These profiles will encapsulate downscaled climate change projections at an 8x8km resolution; meteorological hazard footprints (drought, flooding, wild fires, sea level rise and groundwater availability); and inherent socio-economic and physical vulnerabilities. For the first time, these profiles will provide information for the current baseline year as well as for a 2030 and a 2050 future through projections. This will enable local municipalities to not only plan for current needs, but also do more effective forward planning. The range of adaptation options will be specific to each settlement’s risk profile.

The primary audience for the publication is people responsible for urban planning at a municipal level, including spatial planning, land use management, infrastructure planning and settlement design. The Green Book and its various scientific outputs will also be of great value to people working in disaster risk reduction, engineering services, climate change adaptation, and environmental planning.

The multi-disciplinary project team includes experts in urban and regional planning; geo-informatics; climate modelling; hydrology; demography; resource economy; ecology; water management; disaster risk management; climate impact modelling; economics; statistics; architecture; and climate change adaptation. The CSIR has partnered with the National Disaster Management Centre and the African Institute for Inclusive Growth for the production of this book, while other stakeholders are providing input or peer reviewing the findings. The project is co-funded by the CSIR and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Canada. The project will conclude in March 2019.

If you would like more information on the project or if you would like to be included as a stakeholder you are welcome to contact the project manager, Willemien van Niekerk,