Jeff Birchall, PhD, RPP, MCIP
Area of Study / Keywords
Local climate impacts climate adaptation resilience planning local governance
I am an Associate Professor in the School of Urban and Regional Planning, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. I have broad research and teaching experience in climate/ environmental change and planning, and specific expertise in local governance and sustainability. I have a range of academic and public sector experience, with an education that includes study in human geography (BA) and planning (BES), and advanced study in climate change (MES) and sustainability (PhD).
I am a registered professional planner through the Alberta Professional Planners Institute (RPP) and the Canadian Institute of Planners (MCIP).
I am the Director of the Climate Adaptation and Resilience Lab (CARL) and serve as Lead of the UArctic Thematic Network on Local-scale Planning, Climate Change and Resilience (https://www.uarctic.org/organization/thematic-networks/local-scale-planning-climate-change-and-resilience/)
My research program, while grounded in community planning, is interdisciplinary in scope, and explores the broad theme of environmental resilience at the local scale.
My work on environmental resilience primarily examines local scale governance, and decision dynamics around motivational factors and extent of local planning for climate change risk reduction. Specifically, I am interested in localized environmental impacts (eg. weak shore-fast ice, permafrost thaw, erosion, flooding, wildfire) and how they affect critical infrastructure (eg. seawalls, roads, utilities, assets) and the built form (eg. land use, zoning), how this relates to planning decisions, and what this means for community well-being and safety. Research is largely driven by key actor and local stakeholder engagement, and includes site assessments and the examination of strategic planning documents. Ultimately, the aim of my research is the (co-) production of policy relevant knowledge/ outcomes, and translating theory into practice in a useful, locally informed way.
The role of adaptive and resilience oriented planning to contribute to the development of regions that can sustain themselves and prosper through change and uncertainty. Sections offered at an increased rate of fee assessment; refer to the Tuition and Fees page in the University Regulations sections of the Calendar.
Research - Coastal Community Climate Change Resilience - Arctic Coast
Case studies include communities in Yukon (Haines Junction, Whitehorse, Dawson City), Alaska (Nome, Homer)
Research - Coastal Community Climate Change Resilience - Atlantic Coast
Case studies include communities in New Brunswick (Fredericton), Nova Scotia (Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Halifax), PEI (Charlottetown)
Research - Coastal Community Climate Change Resilience - Pacific Coast
Case studies include communities in British Columbia (Cities: Victoria, Surrey, North Vancouver, Nanaimo; Regional Districts: Comox Valley, Nanaimo, Alberi-Clayoquot, Cowichan Valley)