$0.00 – $6.00
Seven-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among local government, community, business, environmental, and engineering representatives trying to reach agreement on a strategy for managing climate change risks in a small coastal city
Flooding and Climate Change Risks in Northam is a seven-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among local government, community, business, environmental, and engineering representatives trying to reach agreement on a strategy for managing climate change risks in a small coastal city.
The game focuses on managing increased probability of urban flooding by modifying stormwater regulations. It is one of four exercises developed as part of the New England Climate Adaptation Project.* The Northam game highlights decision-making dilemmas around implementation timelines and the use of scientific models. Financial comparisons are not explicitly listed for each regulatory option, but concerns about spending are embedded in the various stakeholder interests.
The 30,000-person coastal city of Northam has a flooding problem. Flooding in the city originates from two sources: 1) stormwater runoff from buildings and roads and 2) overflow from two tidal rivers that run through the heart of the city. In the past few years, flooding from both sources has led to costly damage and loss of business, and the threat of flooding in Northam appears to be getting worse due to climate change. The recent storm is the second “100-year storm” that Northam has experienced in the last five years. Not only have these storms increased the frequency of river flooding, they have also caused sewer collection systems to occasionally overflow on streets and into storm drains.
In response to public concern, Northam’s Planning Board decided to approach its Master Plan review process differently than it has in the past. The Planning Director appointed four advisory committees to discuss some of the city’s regulations and services that could be impacted by climate change, and to make recommendations about what Northam should do going forward. One of these advisory committees focuses on subdivision regulations and stormwater management. The advisory committee, which includes city officials and community leaders, has been tasked with generating recommendations about how existing subdivision and stormwater management regulations can be changed to manage flooding risk in Northam now and into the future. The recommendations of the advisory committee are likely to be accepted by the Planning Board.
- Climate change adaptation poses difficult planning choices, but there are actions cities and towns can take now to protect themselves that will be beneficial regardless of how severe climate change risks turn out to be.
- Development, conservation, and infrastructure investments decisions made today will continue to affect communities far into the future. Short-term actions that do not take long-term climate change risks into account could prove extremely costly in the long run.
- A community-wide approach to managing the collective risks associated with climate change can create opportunities to address other issues while reducing vulnerability and enhancing community resilience.
- Communities must assess their vulnerabilities and decide which adaptation strategies are most appropriate.
- Stakeholders may have conflicting interests that shape their views about which public policy choices make the most sense. By working collaboratively and taking science into account, communities can find creative solutions that meet the interests of diverse stakeholders.
- At-risk towns and cities will have to consider how the financial responsibility for reducing climate risks will be distributed and whose responsibility it is to implement adaptation measures.
This exercise requires seven roles: six stakeholders and one facilitator. Multiple groups of seven can play at the same time. Where there are uneven multiples of seven, players may be doubled up in certain roles.
Total time requirement: 2 – 3 hrs
Preparation: 30 minutes
Negotiation: 60 – 75 minutes
Debriefing: minimum of 30 minutes, during which players can reflect on the game experience and how it relates to real life situations
For all parties:
- General instructions, including climate change projections and subdivision regulations
- Confidential instructions for:
- Planning Director
- Public Works Director
- City Engineer
- Chamber of Commerce President and Developer
- Conservation Commission Chair
- All of the above
- Teaching Notes
* The other three exercises developed as part of the New England Climate Adaptation Project include:
Coastal Flooding and Climate-Related Risks in Launton
Coastal Flooding in Shoreham: Responding to Climate Change Risks
Flooding in Milton: Collectively Managing Climate Change Risks
Flooding and Climate Change Risks in Northam Attributes
|Time required:||2-3 hours|
|Number of participants:||7|
|Neutral third party present:||Yes|
|Teaching notes available:||Yes|
|Author:||New England Climate Change Adaptation Project|