Time to make room for water and start planning for retreat?

11:15 Tuesday 28 May

SS003 • OC018

Room S10


Gunnel Göransson (Sweden) 1; David Bendz (Sweden) 1; Per Danielsson (Sweden) 1; Jim Hedfors (Sweden) 1; Arianit Kurti (Sweden) 2; Jonas Löwgren (Sweden) 3; Signild Nerheim (Sweden) 4; Lisa Van Well (Sweden) 1

1 - Swedish Geotechnical Institute; 2 - RISE Research Institutes of Sweden; 3 - Linköping University; 4 - Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute


Many of the climate adaptation options currently being discussed to meet the challenge of surging seas and flooding rivers concern holding the line through various hard and soft measures to stabilize the shoreline. Little attention is paid to the option of letting the water take space by sustainable exploitation in the right place, and potential long-term relocating buildings, facilities and infrastructure to safer ground. In the CAMEL project (Climate adaptation by managed realignment) our hypothesis is that managed realignment (managed retreat, managed relocation, set-back, etc.) is a challenge in Sweden, not only due to the political challenges and public opinion, but also because of a deficit on the uptake of knowledge by decisionmakers. This in turn may be due to how knowledge about how the issue is produced, visualized and communicated by academics, experts and national authorities. CAMEL is a 3-year project that started in 2018.


We employ inter-disciplinary methods to investigate the environmental, social, economic, governance and technical obstacles to managed realignment (MR), and how they may be overcome. We study literature on how MR is addressed in other countries and what may be learned from these experiences for five Swedish cases studies. We perform in-depth and semi-structured interviews with policymakers, planners, home and business owners and citizens in the case studies. Participatory methods are used to co-create a set of visions for what MR could look like at different time scales. With the advances of visualization technologies and interaction possibilities we investigate new opportunities for meaningful discussion among diverse stakeholders for the decision processes involved in MR. The five urban case studies represent different hydrological and oceanographic environments: a low lying coastal city, a coastal city around a river outlet, a city located at a river delta in a lake, a small rocky island, and a hilly coastal city at a river outlet located in an area exposed to land uplift.


Based in interviews with policymakers and citizens, we present the first findings of the obstacles with MR, when and how MR can be a viable solution and the preliminary development of a visualization tool to facilitate transformative change in planning practices. One preliminary result is that the county administration boards and citizens seem to be more prone to see MR as an opportunity than the municipalities, which may depend on individual values and what geographical and political scale they are operating within.