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Climate Change Policy and Land Development

The module explores the relationship between climate policy, land development and the built environment, using both quantitative and qualitative methods to assess the impact of policies on climate mitigation and adaptation. Consideration is given to the role of land and its vegetation in climate change, the energy and carbon performance of buildings and infrastructure, rationality of climate policies, treatment of complex ownership and governance chains in asset management, trajectories of decarbonisation of the global economy, international and national policies and mechanisms, the macroeconomics of mitigation and adaptation, selection of policy instruments, and the role of community design in low carbon development and reduced vulnerability to climate change risks. Specific topics and methodologies covered are:

  • The role of land settlement patterns and uses in the carbon cycle and climate change
  • The sustainability performance of buildings and infrastructure at landscape scale
  • Rationality of public and private decisions and their framing of climate policies
  • Trajectories of decarbonisation of the global economy
  • International and national policies and mechanisms for climate change
  • Macroeconomics of mitigation and adaptation strategies
  • Selection of policy instruments for delivery of climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • The role of community design – including spatial relationships - in low carbon development
  • The role of natural services in reducing the vulnerability of communities to climate change risks
  • Climate change and sustainable development in developing nations  

Full materials for the module are available on the Department of Land Economy EP10 intranet site.



The aims of this course are to:

  • Develop an analytical background for understanding issues on climate change, the built environment, policies and land development
  • Apply these theoretical ideas to a series of practical cases from developed and developing countries, ranging from individual buildings and organisations, to communities and global programmes of governance, and
  • Discuss recent innovative environmental, energy and economic policy options and alternative strategies for land development and community design.


Learning outcomes and skills acquisition

By the end of the course, students will:

  • Have an inter-disciplinary understanding of the major intellectual frameworks for analysing complex environmental issues such as climate change, including economics, law/politics and scientific/ecological (theoretical knowledge)
  • Be able to apply these intellectual frameworks to various topical issues facing communities, countries and policy-makers (practical application to contemporary issues)
  • Be able to think critically about current policy approaches, technologies, community designs and behavioural change, and identify what the main stakeholders stand to gain, and lose, through different strategies (design and assessment of policies and programmes). 


4cmr logo large and transparent

4CMR has finished its cycle, and has been replaced by the Cambridge Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance (C-EENRG). C-EENRG is also located in the Department of Land Economy, with a core mission to "conduct integrative research on the governance of environmental transitions, understood as social and technological processes driven by environmental constraints that lead to fundamental changes in social organisation."

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