Jeff Birchall, PhD, RPP, MCIP

Associate Professor, Faculty of Science - Earth & Atmospheric Sciences Admin


Associate Professor, Faculty of Science - Earth & Atmospheric Sciences Admin
(780) 248-5758
3-115 Tory (H.M.) Building
11211 Saskatchewan Drive NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H4


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 (


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. 

Scholarly Activities

Research - Coastal Community Climate Change Resilience - Arctic Coast

Started: 201805

Case studies include communities in Yukon (Haines Junction, Whitehorse, Dawson City), Alaska (Nome, Homer)

Research - Coastal Community Climate Change Resilience - Atlantic Coast

Started: 201705

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

Started: 201606

Case studies include communities in British Columbia (Cities: Victoria, Surrey, North Vancouver, Nanaimo; Regional Districts: Comox Valley, Nanaimo, Alberi-Clayoquot, Cowichan Valley)

Research - International Thematic Network Lead - Local-scale Planning, Climate Change and Resilience

New international network on climate change led by UAlberta scientist

Featured Publications

Muffly, J., Birchall, SJ.

International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. 2023 September; 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2023.103988

Birchall, SJ, Kehler, S

Environmental Science and Policy. 2023 June; 10.1016/j.envsci.2023.05.017

Kehler, S., Birchall, SJ.

Environmental Science & Policy. 2023 May; 10.1016/j.envsci.2023.05.012

Birchall, SJ., Bonnett, N., Kehler, S.

Urban Climate. 2023 January; 10.1016/j.uclim.2022.101348

Slater, T., Birchall, SJ.

Cities. 2022 September; 10.1016/j.cities.2022.103930

S Jeff Birchall; Sarah Kehler, Nicole Bonnett

School of Public Policy Publications (University of Calgary). 2022 June; (Canadian Northern Corridor Special Series) 10.11575/sppp.v15i1.74463

Kristof van Assche, S. Jeff Birchall, Monica Gruezmacher

Land Use Policy. 2022 February; 10.1016/j.landusepol.2022.106062

Bonnett, N., Birchall, SJ.

Regional Studies. 2022 February; 10.1080/00343404.2022.2049224

Birchall, SJ., MacDonald, S., Baran, N.

Urban Climate. 2022 January; 10.1016/j.uclim.2021.101062

Kehler, S. Birchall, SJ.

Environmental Science & Policy. 2021 August; 10.1016/j.envsci.2021.07.025

Fitton, J., Addo, K.A, Jayson-Quashigah, P-N., Nagy, G., Gutierrez, O., Panario, D., Carro, I., Seijo, L., Segura, C., Verocai, J.E., Luoma, S., Klien, J., Zhang, T-T, Birchall, SJ., Stempel, P.

Ocean and Coastal Management. 2021 June;

Halabut, R., Birchall, SJ.

Canadian Geographer. 2021 April; 10.1111/cag.12702

Birchall, SJ., MacDonald, S., Slater, T.

Urban Climate. 2021 April;

Birchall, SJ, Bonnett, N

Cities. 2021 January; 108

McDonald-Yale, E., Birchall, SJ

Landscape Research. 2021 January;

Bonnett, N., Birchall, SJ.

Marine Policy. 2020 August;

van Asshe, K., Duineveld, M., Birchall, SJ., Deacon, L., Beunen, R., Gruezmacher, M., Boezeman, D.

Space and Culture. 2020 July;


Marine Policy. 2020 February; 112 (Land and Sea Interaction Special Issue)

MacDonald, S., Birchall, SJ.

Canadian Geographer. 2019 December;

Birchall, SJ., Bonnett, N.

Environmental Hazards. 2019 July; 19 (2):157-170 10.1080/17477891.2019.1637331

Birchall, SJ, Bonnett, N.

Environmental Planning and Management. 2018 October; 62 (13):2238-2254

French, E.L., Birchall, S.J., Landman, K., Brown, R.

International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. 2018 March; 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2018.11.001

Birchall, SJ, Murphy, M, Milne, M.

Carbon Management. 2018 January;

Birchall, SJ

Local Environment. 2017 January; 10.1080/13549839.2014.945404

Birchall, SJ, Murphy, M, Milne, M

Qualitative Report. 2016 July; 10.46743/2160-3715/2016.2398

Birchall, SJ, Murphy, M, Milne, M

Social and Environmental Accountability. 2015 July; 10.1080/0969160X.2015.1061444