Across the globe, cities, towns and villages are facing flooding and other hazards at an increasing rate. At the same time, rapidly growing populations in some parts of the world have led to increasingly overcrowded cities, while other regions, particularly rural areas, are suffering from population decline. Responding to such challenges involves a critical role for urban and rural planning. This paper features examples from around the world of how planners in both the public and private sectors are responding to these challenges. It analyses three aspects of climate change – extreme weather, water provision and energy supply – and three aspects of demographic change – population growth, ageing populations and social cohesion.
On its own, planning cannot resolve these challenges, but their scale and scope illustrate why planning is such a crucial part of the solution. Further, planners’ responses to these challenges suggest ways that policy- and decision-makers more broadly can make our societies more resilient – effectively to help ‘future-proof’ our societies for the 21st century.