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Climate change and public space

Public spaces can play a major role in combating the effects of climate change.

A flooded forest

Milton Keynes Floodplain Forest
Photo by Stephen McLaren

Research from the UK Climate Impacts Programme shows that the future will bring warmer wetter winters, hotter drier summers, rising sea levels and more extreme weather events. We are locked into decades of climate change regardless of any action taken now.

Adapting public space to climate change shows how public spaces play a major role in combating the effects of climate change - from moderating rising temperatures in our cities to preventing flooding.  Climate change adaptation is increasingly important in policy making for public space.

See our Sustainable Places website for more information and guidance to help adapt public space to climate change and maximise the potential of public space.

Flood risk

Public spaces have a key role in reducing the impacts of flooding.

Acting together on climate change

Effective approaches to adapting for climate change combine many themes such as water, waste, transport and biodiversity together.

Tackling floods with sustainable urban drainage

Around two million properties worth £200 billion are at risk of flooding in England and Wales. Following the Pitt review of the 2007 summer floods, local authorities are responsible for coordinating flood management.

Urban heat island

The urban heat island effect causes urban areas to become several degrees hotter than surrounding rural areas. In hot summers cities will become increasingly uncomfortable to live in.

Policy guide

Read and download the policies affecting how public space can adapt to climate change in the UK.