Infrastructure Resources

Urban Design for Planners

Courses from Planetizen that teach you "urban design plans, models and graphics using GIS, SketchUp, and graphics editing software" 

How to improve infrastructure project selection

A report from the Economic Policy Institute that outlines the problems with popular methods of infrastructure planning and proposes more efficient, cost effective and environmentally sustainable methods.

Delivering on sustainable infrastructure for better development and better climate

A report from the Brookings Institute which presents ways to build and plan resilient and sustainable infrastructure.

Case Studies in Sustainable Infrastructure

Examples of sustainable infrastructure projects from all across Canada.

Videos: Planning Parks

Need some inspiration? 

Sit back and watch these lectures, talks and short films about sustainable park design and public space.

Those of you interested in parks and public space will want to watch this.

This is a fascinating project to revive and save forest and waterways and reintroducing and protecting wildlife.

Interesting examples of public spaces activated not just by the designers of the space but by the users.

The Insurance Industry & Climate Change

The insurance industry has long acknowledged the fact of climate change, because they have had to insure the results of it. The rise in natural disasters, as a result of man-made global warming, is clear and recognised. Here you can explore what insurance companies have done to face climate change.

First a podcast from the Centre for International Governance Innovation:

The Insurance Companies

Climate Change: Value at risk to investment and Aviva’s strategic response

Reports from Aviva on how they respond to the challenge of climate change 

"Over coming decades, climate change presents solvency issues to businesses in many different industries, including our own" Aviva

Swiss Re: Managing climate and natural disaster risk

Zurich based Swiss Re is the world's second-largest reinsurer

"Swiss Re understands the relationship between climate and natural disaster risk and how both affect our world" Swiss Re

AXA & Climate Change

France’s largest insurer has taken many steps including a 2015 commitment to divest of coal assets. 

"Over the past 50 years, the frequency of climate-related natural disasters was multiplied by more than 5 and the cost for the society was multiplied by more than 10" AXA

The Consensus on Climate Change

Scientists are rigorous, they relish challenges and they are always looking to disprove or prove a hypothesis. This is why it's very important that Climate Change and the fact that we are causing it, are agreed upon by the overwhelming majority of scientists.

In fact the 3% of studies that supposedly fell outside of that consensus were proved to be flawed in recent studies. 

Here is some reading to back that up:

Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming

"We examine the available studies and conclude that the finding of 97% consensus in published climate research is robust and consistent with other surveys of climate scientists and peer-reviewed studies."

Learning from mistakes in climate research

This is the study that found the 3% of climate change denier studies were flawed or biased. Well worth a read. 

"A common denominator seems to be missing contextual information or ignoring information that does not fit the conclusions, be it other relevant work or related geophysical data. In many cases, shortcomings are due to insufficient model evaluation, leading to results that are not universally valid but rather are an artifact of a particular experimental setup. Other typical weaknesses include false dichotomies, inappropriate statistical methods, or basing conclusions on misconceived or incomplete physics. We also argue that science is never settled and that both mainstream and contrarian papers must be subject to sustained scrutiny"

Those 3% of scientific papers that deny climate change? A review found them all flawed

"researchers tried to replicate the results of those 3% of papers—a common way to test scientific studies—and found biased, faulty results"

Scientific Consensus: Why Should We Accept It?

"As opposed to politics, where vested interests contend for supremacy, science is a field where the single goal is to discover the truth. The spirit of science propels those who work in their various fields to make sure current popular beliefs are tested for veracity"

A little video to help introduce you to the topic:

Resources: Climate Change & Health

The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: from 25 years of inaction to a global transformation for public health

Why it is important:

" tracks progress on health and climate change and provides an independent assessment of the health effects of climate change, the implementation of the Paris Agreement,1 and the health implications of these actions"

Global and regional health effects of future food production under climate change: a modelling study

Why it is important:  

"It presents a model that estimates the effects of climate change on agriculture and concludes that "excess mortality attributable to agriculturally mediated changes in dietary and weight-related risk factors by cause of death for 155 world regions in the year 2050."

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World
2017 FAO

Why it is important:

It links the increase of conflict in the nearly past decade to climate related food and resource insecurity:

"The concurrence of conflict and climate-related natural disasters is likely to increase with climate change, as climate change not only threatens food insecurity and malnutrition, but can also contribute to further downward deterioration into conflict, protracted crisis and continued fragility.
"In some cases the root cause of the conflict is competition over natural resources."

Modelling the Health Risks of Climate Change

Workshop Summary(2015)

Why it is important:

It lays out the interrelationship of converging crises that will come into play and require coordinating resources and preparedness

Resources to keep checking:

Reports for Decision Makers in Security & Public Policy

Climate Science Special Report: Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4), Volume I

This 2017 report from the US government includes:

"This assessment concludes, based on extensive evidence, that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence."

Extreme Weather and Climate Change

The 2017 study by The Centre for Energy and climate solutions presents work that suggests:

"A combination of observed trends, theoretical understanding of the climate system, and numerical modeling demonstrates that global warming is increasing the risk of these types of events today."

Confronting climate change as an accelerator of crisis

"Development in the Arab region has always been complex, but climate change is now acting as an accelerator of fragility, disrupting ecosystems and triggering displacement. Yet despite this growing complexity, decision making remains focused on sectoral, linear approaches. More integrated policies and institutions are needed that address the multi-dimensional nature of risk today"

Climate change: A catalyst for conflict

"The effects of climate change, alongside other social, economic and political components, contribute to the violence with which conflicts are resolved."  

Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change

The study links climate change to certain extreme events that decision makers will have to predict and prepare for:

"Warming increases the likelihood of extremely hot days and nights, favors increased atmospheric moisture that may result in more frequent heavy rainfall and snowfall, and leads to evaporation that can exacerbate droughts"

Climate and Social Stress:  Implications for Security Analysis(2013)

A study that looks at climate change in the national security and social stress context:

"During the coming decade, certain climate-related events will produce consequences that exceed the capacity of the affected societies or global systems to manage; these may have global security implications"

potential impacts of climate change on water, energy, and agriculture will make it a central driver of conflict. The impacts of climate change combine to make it a clear threat to collective security and global order in the first half of the 21st Century.”
— International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2011:11

A main driver or an intermediate variable? Climate change, water and security in the Middle East

"The nexus between climate change and violent conflict is at the center of intensifying political and academic debate. Yet research on the extent and strength of this relationship remains inconclusive and much of the literature is largely empirical, lacking a sufficient theoretical underpinning. This study advances a conceptual framework linking climate change induced droughts and conflict, in potentially iterative relations"

Modelling impacts of climate change on global food security

"projections of a rapidly growing population, coupled with global climate change, is expected to have significant negative impacts on food security"

Cities Fighting Climate Change

Cities worldwide have taken the initiative to create programmes and plans to tackle the very serious threat of climate change. Here are some examples that other city planners, activists and leaders can learn from:

Aligning New York City with The Paris Climate Agreement

"This plan is the rst of its kind and lays out the pace, scale, and impact of the work we must do by 2020 to achieve this goal. It also commits us to work with other cities to develop a protocol to reduce our carbon footprint to zero" Mayor Bill de Blasio

Los Angeles - The Sustainable City pLAn

"The Sustainable City pLAn is a roadmap for a Los Angeles that is environmentally healthy, economically prosperous, and equitable in opportunity for all – now and over the next 20 years."      - The pLAn

Paris Climate Action Plan

"The aim is to act rather than passively endure climate change, to obtain a better knowledge and understanding of the challenges in order to strengthen the resilience of the Parisian territory"            - Climate Action Plan

Copenhagen Climate Adaptation Plan

"There is a need for extensive investments and thorough planning to meet the challenges that the changes in the climate pose for Copenhagen. But by acting at the right time we can minimise ex- penditure on preventing and rectifying damage, and climate adaptation may help to create green growth for Copenhagen" - Copenhagen Climate Adaptation Plan

Mexico City Climate Action Program

"Mexico City has assumed a forefront and leadership position on a national and global level in the design of tools and instruments focused on tackling the climate change challenge and reducing the social, environmental and economic risks" - Dr. Miguel A. Mancera Espinosa Head of Government of Mexico City  


Further Resources For Cities

C40 Cities: Global Action Data

"C40 maintains a database of nearly 10,000 unique city climate actions spread across 11 city sectors, with approximately 3,000 actions reported in 2015 alone. The Global Action Data portal allows access to this data like never before" - C40

Deadline 2020

"The ambition of the Paris Agreement and of Deadline 2020 is to limit warming to 1.5 degrees, but the risk of further increases in temperature remains signi cant. Unless preventative action is taken, climate change-related natural disasters have been estimated to put at risk 1.3 billion people by 2050 and assets worth $158 trillion – double the total annual output of the global economy."- C40

Megacities Project

"The Megacities Carbon Project will develop and test methods for monitoring the greenhouse gas emissions of the largest human contributors to climate change: cities and their power plants"


NAZCA - Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action

"NAZCA aims to track the mobilization and action that are helping countries achieve and exceed their national commitments to address climate change" - UNFCCC

Covenant of Mayors for Climate Energy

"Heralded as the “world’s biggest urban climate and energy initiative” by Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete, the Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy brings together thousands of local and regional authorities voluntarily committed to implementing EU climate and energy objectives on their territory." - Covenant of Mayors for Climate Energy


"charity that runs the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts" - CDP

12 major cities sign declaration to promote clean transit

"By pledging zero-emissions vehicles and more clean transit, participating cities will not only reduce GHG emissions, but could also make cities more physically attractive"

Articles: Construction & Building Emissions

Here are some articles on construction and its relationship to emissions. How bad is it and what is being done to mitigate the problems? Start your exploration here and maybe begin to improve and innovate where you are.

Construction sector views on low carbon building materials

Why it's important:

"The principal objective of this study was to understand the economic, technical, practical and cultural barriers preventing construction professionals from selecting a variety of materials commonly identified as being lower in embodied carbon. It also sought to understand the role for regulation, professional institutions and advocacy groups in overcoming these barriers."

Operational vs. embodied emissions in buildings—A review of current trends

Why it is important:

"studies have revealed the growing significance of embodied emissions in buildings but its importance is often underestimated in lifecycle emissions analysis"

Building governance and climate change: roles for regulation and related polices

Why it is important:

"With buildings lasting between 50 and 300 years, they have to respond to current and future needs. Effective governance of the building stock needs to account for change over time and incorporate future scenarios into the requirements for today’s buildings"

Alternative building emission-reduction measure: outcomes from the Tokyo Cap-and-Trade Program

Why it is important:

"the Tokyo Cap-and-Trade Program (TCTP), implemented since 2010, is an important measure to accelerate the building sector’s emission reduction to achieve Tokyo’s greenhouse gas target, 25% reduction by 2020 from a year 2000 baseline level"

Climate policies for buildings

Why it is important:

"A fundamental question is whether there is sufficient ‘policy literacy’ within the built environment community to convincingly engage with policy-makers and policy formulation to play an active role in generating, explaining and evaluating policy options"

Too Few Cities Are Developing Effective Strategies To Protect Their Residents From Climate Change

Why it is important:

" cities are falling short in two areas: preparing for the likely impacts of climate change and cutting their own greenhouse gas emissions by reducing fossil fuel use"

Global Environmental Regimes (Treaties, Conventions, Agreements)

A listing of the major global environmental regimes that are compiled for ease of reference. We have placed links to each of the agreements as well as a short highlight from each to explain their importance. 

Keep coming back for updates.

Chemical Regimes

2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants

"chemical substances that persist in the environment, bio-accumulate through the food web, and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment"

1998 Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade

The objective of this Convention is to promote shared responsibility and cooperative e orts among Parties in the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals in order to protect human health and the environment from potential harm and to contribute to their environmentally sound use, by facilitating information exchange about their characteristics - Article 1

Climate Regimes

1997 Kyoto Protocol

Recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity, the Protocol places a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities." UNFCCC

1994 Convention to Combat Desertification

"The sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management" - UNCCD

1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change

The ultimate objective of the Convention is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations "at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human induced) interference with the climate system." It states that "such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened, and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner." - UNFCCC

Air Pollution Regimes

1987 Montreal Protocol

"designed to reduce the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances in order to reduce their abundance in the atmosphere, and thereby protect the earth’s fragile ozone Layer"     - UNEP

1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution

"The Convention has substantially contributed to the development of international environmental law and has created the essential framework for controlling and reducing the damage to human health and the environment caused by transboundary air pollution" - UNECE

Water Pollution Regimes

1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 

Part XII of the convention : Protection & Preservation of the Marine Environment is an important environmental agreement

1973 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships

"The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes" - IMO

1972 London Convention / The Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter

"stresses the “precautionary approach”, which requires that “appropriate preventative measures are taken when there is reason to believe that wastes or other matter introduced into the marine environment are likely to cause harm even when there is no conclusive evidence to prove a causal relation between inputs and their effects”.
It also states that "the polluter should, in principle, bear the cost of pollution" - IMO

Wildlife Conservation Regimes

1983 Bonn Convention / Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals

"provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats." - CMS

1973 CITES / Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

"aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival." - CITES

1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling

"The Convention includes a legally binding Schedule which, amongst other things, sets out catch limits for commercial and aboriginal subsistence whaling" - IWC

General Resources

"ECOLEX has been designed to be the most comprehensive global source of information on national and international environmental law"

Important Studies on Climate Change for Policy Makers

The Essentials

IPCC, 2014: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change 

Why it is important:

All of the IPCC reports are essential reading for all policy makers as well as all global citizens. This is where to start on a journey of understanding where we are and where we are going.

Planning for climate change: Guide – A strategic, values-based approach for urban planners


Why it is important:

It gives the urban planner tools to plan for better local resilience to climate change. Create better policy using participatory planning and political engagement across multiple stakeholders.

A globally coherent fingerprint of climate change impacts across natural systems 

by Camille Parmesan & Gary Yohe Nature 421, 37-42 (2 January 2003)

Why it is important:

A highly cited, influential study which manages to "show that recent biological trends match climate change predictions" 

Health and climate change: policy responses to protect public health

The Lancet Volume 386, No. 10006, p1861–1914, 7 November 2015

Why it is important:

Climate change and its burdens upon health worldwide, require policy actions that are efficient, complex and fact based. The Lancet provides this report "in order to ensure the highest attainable standards of health for populations worldwide" 


Past Studies That Serve as Historical Markers for Climate Science

Can We Control Carbon Dioxide? 

Nordhaus, W.D. IIASA Working Paper WP-75-063 1975

Targets and Indicators of Climatic Change

edited by F.R. Rijsberman and R.J. Swart  Published by The Stockholm Environment Institute 1990


Paper: Transforming building regulatory systems to address climate change

Transforming building regulatory systems to address climate change

by David A. Eisenberg in Building Research & Information - Volume 44, 2016 - Issue 5-6: Building governance and climate change: regulation and related policies - Pages 468-473 | Published online: 28 Jan 2016


"An examination of the regulatory challenges inherent in addressing climate change will reveal the need to rethink the goals and mechanisms of regulatory response and responsibility. The reality that hazards of significant scope and seriousness can escape regulatory attention and response for so long raises the question of why this occurs" Keep Reading