Navigating amid uncertainty in spatial planning

Mark Zandvoort*, Maarten J. Van der Vlist, Frans Klijn, Adri Van den Brink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


In view of the need to adapt to uncertain climate change through spatial interventions, this article explores how spatial planners might navigate amid uncertainty. To draw out insights for planning, we examine planning frameworks which explicitly recognise uncertainty and uncertainty descriptions from studies in environmental risk and climate uncertainty. We build our case by addressing the implications of different characteristics of uncertainty and describe how planners can handle uncertainty based on the nature, level and location of uncertainty. We argue that a plural–unequivocal characterisation of uncertainty helps planners in their search for adequate and warranted interventions amid uncertainty.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-116
JournalPlanning Theory
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • ambiguity
  • climate change
  • long-term consequences
  • moral responsibility
  • spatial planning
  • uncertainty

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