Barriers to the implementation of climate change adaptation in land use planning: A multi-level governance problem?

Sirkku Juhola*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – In the past 10 years, most countries and cities have published a national adaptation strategy that outlines the strategic approach to reduce the vulnerability to climate change and to adapt to the impacts of it. The existence of an adaptation strategy does not, however, equal implementation of adaptation and the fact that adaptation is taking place across multiple levels also poses new challenges to its efficient implementation. The literature on barriers of adaptation has been increasing rapidly, questioning whether there is a misconception that barriers to implementation can be solved at the local level. Design/methodology/approach – This paper analyses the implementation of adaptation strategies across multiple levels of governance by focusing on the land use planning in Finland. The case study examines the implementation of adaptation in the metropolitan region of Helsinki through a policy document analysis. Findings – The conclusions highlight that there are barriers at the local level that emerge from the existing governance structures and cannot be solved by the local level alone. There needs to be a further recognition that coordination across levels of governance is a factor in overcoming barriers. Originality/value – So far, there are very few studies that have analysed barriers in relation to the implementation of adaptation in a multi-level setting, and none in the land use sector, which is inherently hierarchical in nature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-355
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Adaptation
  • Climate change
  • Finland
  • Land use sector
  • Multi-level governance
  • Planning


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