British Columbia's Local Climate Change Visioning Project

Rachel M. Gregg
Posted on: 12/17/2010 - Updated on: 3/02/2020

Posted by

Rachel Gregg

Project Summary

The Local Climate Change Visioning Project provides a participatory, scenario-based lens through which decision makers and planners can examine climate change impacts and develop policy responses at a local level in British Columbia, Canada. The project aims to facilitate connections between scientists and policy makers in addressing global climate change impacts.


Created by project leaders at the University of British Columbia’s Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning (CALP) program in 2005, this project uses imagery of downscaled future climate scenarios in order to allow decision makers to visualize potential adaptation responses at the local level. Using 3D visualization techniques and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping, this project is examining projected climate change impacts on local communities in British Columbia. The visualization products identify alternative climate scenarios and potential consequences of adaptation and mitigation responses.

Using climate models, socioeconomic scenarios, and GIS mapping, local visualizations are produced for climate impacts and response scenarios. For example, CALP has developed the 4 Worlds scenarios:

  • In World 1/Do Nothing, there are ongoing high emissions with high impacts
  • World 2 is adaptation only
  • World 3 is slow mitigation response – not enough to stabilize climate – along with adaptation measures
  • World 4 has extensive and rapid mitigation that stabilizes climate along with adaptation

Case studies were undertaken in three locations – a rural coastal municipality, a mountain settlement, and an urban setting – in British Columbia (Delta, Lower Mainland, and North Vancouver). A 2009 survey of community members from these areas found that this visualization process increased public awareness of climate change and potential responses and increased the urgency and importance of addressing climate change issues.


The Local Climate Change Visioning Project has been supported and funded by the following: GEOIDE National Centre of Excellence, Natural Resources Canada, Environment Canada, BC Ministry of Environment, BC Integrated Land Management Bureau, BC Ministry of Community Development, Climate Action Secretariat, Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium, Columbia Basin Trust, Metro Vancouver, City of Vancouver, Corporation of Delta, District of North Vancouver, District of West Vancouver, City of Kimberley, Selkirk College, Real Estate Foundation, and the David Suzuki Foundation.

In 2010, project leaders released a guidance manual on visioning. The manual uses the City of Kimberley as its case study and explains the visioning process using the following three phases and 10 steps:

Phase 1. Participatory Scenario Building – during which local priorities are identified and scenarios are developed.

  • Step 1. Convene working group
  • Step 2. Collect baseline data to create scenarios
  • Step 3. Develop maps and scenario frameworks
  • Step 4. Host workshop to identify and define scenarios

Phase 2. Data and Modeling – during which data is generated, developed, and reviewed.

  • Step 5. Map and model land use, impacts, and responses
  • Step 6. Create 2D maps and 3D visualization tools of scenarios
  • Step 7. Host workshop to review data and visualization tools

Phase 3. Full Visioning Package – during which data and visualization tools are refined and presented to local communities.

  • Step 8. Refine data and models
  • Step 9. Develop final maps, visualizations, and materials
  • Step 10. Host an open house or other outreach event to present climate scenarios and response options to the local community

Outcomes and Conclusions

The guidance manual released in 2010 is intended for use by local communities throughout British Columbia. In addition, project leaders plan to develop other training and support programs and recommendations on policy and planning approaches to climate change.


Gregg, R. M. (2010). British Columbia's Local Climate Change Visioning Project [Case study on a project of the Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning]. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. Retrieved from CAKE:… (Last updated December 2010)

Affiliated Organizations

CALP focuses on accessible solutions that bridge research and practice by bringing rigorous science and modeling, visualizations, innovative environmental design and participatory processes to community and landscape planning. In doing so we strive to establish CALP as an international centre for climate action and education for the broader public and our partner communities.

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