Event – The Role of Landscape Visualisation in Climate Change – 29 October
Faculty of Engineering, Sustainable Systems Initiative – Tewkesbury Lecture
Presented by: Professor Stephen R.J. Sheppard
Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning, University of British Columbia
Old Engineering A1 Theatre â€“ 5:00 pm Monday, 29 October 2007
The Role of Landscape Visualisation in Climate Change: Visioning and Decision-Support
Urgent climate change imperatives call for rapid response in developing more sustainable systems at the community level. Recent research focuses on 4D Visioning Processes, using landscape visualisation techniques based on digital mapping, scientific, and engineering data, to engage, inform, and assist policy-makers and communities in tackling climate change. These future visioning processes with 3D modelling tools offer novel ways to make climate change explicit to local communities, support decision-making, and perhaps to accelerate policy implementation. Collaborative research has been conducted with coastal and mountain communities in southwest British Columbia, facing growing threats from sea-level rise, snowpack reduction, weather-related geotechnical hazards, and socioeconomic pressures. The approach taken has been to visualize holistic alternative future scenarios out to 2100, at the neighbourhood or community level; this effort integrates climate change impacts, adaptation responses, and mitigation responses, and is based on available modelling, GIS mapping, expert advice, and local stakeholder involvement. The study has evaluated the impact of these methods on perceptions of local engineers, planners, and community residents. Initial results with the coastal community of Delta suggest that this visioning process is credible, sustains high levels of community engagement, builds awareness of local effects, increases motivation to support climate change response, and can reveal social barriers to change as well as potential solutions. This suggests we have a powerful additional tool with which to confront the often overwhelming complexity and uncertainty of climate change, and articulate the choices facing every community.
Stephen Sheppard teaches in sustainable landscape planning, aesthetics, and visualization in the Faculty of Forestry and Landscape Architecture programme at UBC. He directs the Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning (CALP), an interdisciplinary research group using perception-testing and immersive/interactive visualization to support public awareness and collaborative planning on sustainability issues. He has over 25 years’ experience in environmental assessment and public participation internationally. He is currently contributing to the BC Chapter of Canada’s National Assessment of climate change impacts and adaptation. Current research interests lie in perceptions of climate change, the aesthetics of sustainability, and visualization theory and ethics.