Adapting the Built Environment in a Changing Northern Climate

2013 May 16

A new project report by CCARG researchers on hazard mapping and vulnerability assessment in Canada’s North, titled Adapting the Built Environment in a Changing Northern Climate, is now available. This project is a joint collaboration led by the CCARG at McGill, Erik Sparling at RSI, and Trevor Bell at Memorial, and  aims to document and evaluate hazard mapping and vulnerability assessments focusing on the built environment in Canada’s north. Working closely with stakeholders from across the north, this work helps identify key gaps and future research needs.

The aims of this study are to: (i) Identify vulnerability and climate hazard mapping initiatives, completed since 2007 in Northern Canada in relation to the built environment; (ii) evaluate the methodologies used in different projects and the outputs they have generated, with a particular focus on examining their comparability and consistency; (iii) identify and describe priority information gaps that need to be addressed through future climate hazard mapping and vulnerability assessments; and (iv) consider whether these tools might be standardized in the future to provide improved accessibility and comparability across Northern Canada, and be understandable to different types of users.

The methodological approach for this study includes: (i) a literature review (over 200 documents) for both topical areas that aims to characterize the current state of knowledge and identify best practices; (ii) the identification of northern Canadian initiatives (n= 30); (iii) key informant interviews to solicit views on current practices and specific initiatives in both topical areas (n=48); and finally (iv) comparative analysis of initiatives. This report summarizes the findings and recommends means for advancing vulnerability assessment and hazard mapping practice in relation to climate change and the built environment in Northern Canada.

Continue reading the report in full here.

Click here for access to the accompanying searchable database.

With support from Natural Resources Canada and Canada’s Adaptation Platform Northern Working Group.

For more information on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation in Canada, visit:

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