Design-led decision support for regional climate change

This VCCCAR sponsored project takes a new approach to climate change adaptation at the local government scale, addressing the question “What could a ‘climate-proof’ future look like?” using a design process to address problems of future uncertainty and risk.

A design approach enables new ideas to arise, emphasising uncertainty as part of future thinking whilst allowing a departure from incremental approaches. Design ‘charettes’ (a form of intensive workshop) are central to this exercise and have been developed and organised for three case study regions. Three other work packages support the charette process by inputting data and synthesising outputs. Charrettes have been held in Bendigo and Sea Lake, engaging a range of community members, local government and state government staff and academics in an intensive process of envisaging and designing alternative futures for their locality based on an understanding of local conditions and potential future climate conditions. Those involved in the charrettes have found the process challenging and satisfying. Reports from the charrettes are being finalised and will be published as part of the project deliverables.

Project outputs

  • A policy brief on ‘Incorporating sustainability metrics in climate adaptation planning’)
  • Final report: Decision support framework for policy makers
  • A policy brief on results, ‘Designing a climate resilient future: a guide to integrating multiple perspectives in spatial planning’
  • A working paper entitled 'The potential of design-thinking for climate change adaptation decision-making processes'
  • Bendigo design charette
  • Sea Lake design charette

Research team
Design-led decision support for regional climate change was funded by the Victorian Government through VCCCAR. It was undertaken by an interdisciplinary and multi-institutional team led by Professor Ralph Horne, RMIT University, and Professor John Martin, La Trobe University.
Other members of the project team include:
Dr Stephen Clune, RMIT University
Professor Roger Jones, Victoria University
Dr Rob Roggema, RMIT University
Dr Julia Werner, RMIT University, School of Architecture and Design