Engendering Spatial Planning A Gender Perspective on Municipal Climate Change Response

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: While climate change mitigation has been on the agenda of spatial planning practitioners for over two decades, adaptation has only become influential in spatial planning practice in recent years. This trend is evident not only at the municipal levelbut also at the regional and national levels. The revised planning and building law from 2011 states that municipalities must consider climate change. In parallel, a body of research focusing on the relationship between gender and concern for environmental and climate change and arguing that women are more concerned and proactive with respect to environmental issues has emerged. However, this research has been criticized for being essentialist and for stigmatizing women and men. The long-term aim of the present dissertation is to contribute to knowledge on how a gender perspective on municipal spatial planning can contribute to efficient and well-informed climate change response, as well as on how a gender perspective, as an analytical framework, can be developed to analyze, on the one hand, spatial planning related to climate change and, on the other, spatial planning more generally. One of the main contributions of my dissertation is to demonstrate that, by including a gender perspective in municipal climate change response, aspects that may be important for achieving efficient and well-informed spatial planning related to climate change response that are not typically prioritized can be afforded prominent places on the agenda. In this dissertation, I refer to these aspects as feminine values and perspectives—or attributes. I also contribute to the development of an analytical framework that can be used by policy makers and scientists to assess how a gender perspective is and can be integrated within municipal spatial planning processes related to climate change response, as well as spatial planning more generally. Furthermore, in addition to the development of efficient and well-informed responses, a dimension of gender equality must be considered. My dissertation contributes to the understanding that planners who adopt a gender perspective must consider the general level of gender equality in a country. Although the primary objective of this dissertation is to contribute to the development of efficient and well-informed policy, issues of equality and democracy cannot be overlooked. As I argue in my dissertation, participatory approaches to spatial planning are imperative for municipal efforts related to climate change. Nonetheless, participatory approaches require spatial planners to ensure that democracy and equality, on the one hand, and efficient and well-informed policy delivery, on the other, do not conflict.