CLISP – Climate Change Adaptation by Spatial Planning in the Alpine Space

Background and Goals

The CLISP project is an international project in the Alpine Space that focusses on the issue of climate change and spatial planning. For this purpose, a vulnerability analysis will be carried out in 10 local model regions and the "climate change fitness" of existing spatial planning systems will be assessed.

It is assumed that climate change will have a strong impact on natural and socio-economic systems and spatial development. This represents a threat to current living and working conditions, as well as for regional development and growth potential, and could reinforce disparities between the regions and endanger the local, social cohesion in the Alpine Space.

CLISP aims at preventing, reducing and mitigating climate-change related spatial conflicts, vulnerability of spatial development and spatial structures to adverse climate change impacts, and consequential damages and costs. CLISP intends to contribute to sustainable, climate-proof spatial planning and territorial development in the Alpine Space. CLISP is focused on the challenges to spatial planning in the Alpine Space in the face of the climate change, and will contribute to climate change adaptation by making spatial planning and development "climate-proof".

Content time


Research area/region

  • Germany
  • Liechtenstein
Region of implementation (all German federal states)
  • Bavaria
Natural spatial classification
  • Alps
  • Alpine Foothills
Spatial resolution 

Oberösterreich, Communitá Montana Suol D´Aleramo, Communitá Montana Alta Val Lemme e Alto Ovadese, Berchtesgadener Land, Miesbach, Gorenska, Graubünden, Liezen, Pinzgau-Pongau, Südtirol

Steps in the process of adaptation to climate change

Step 1: Understand and describe climate change

Approach and results 

A1B and B1 IPCC emissions scenarios; global climate models: ECHAM5, HadCm3, ARPEGE; regional climate models: REMO, CLM, RegCM3, ALADIN (see also ENSEMBLES project).

Climate change scenarios project continuously rising temperatures for the Alps up to +4 °C until the end of the 21st century, with an accelerated increase in the second half of the century. As in the past, the Alps will be exposed to a stronger warming than in the European average. Temperatures will rise strongest in higher elevations (> 1500 m above sea level), where an increase of +4.2°C is expected. Changes in precipitation amounts are projected to be rather moderate in terms of the yearly total, and likely to decrease south of the Alpine main ridge. However, significant changes are expected in seasonal distribution of precipitation amounts: summers are projected to become considerably drier in all regions, and in particular in the south, whereas in winter and spring precipitation will increase in the north and north-west and decrease in the south and south-east of the Alps. Winter precipitation is expected to increasingly fall as rain rather than snow, leading to a rise of the snow line and fewer days with snow cover. As a consequence, winter run-off will increase in most regions, and summer run-off will generally decrease.

Parameter (climate signals)
  • Altered rainfall patterns
  • Higher average temperatures
  • Extreme precipitation (incl. hail, snow)
  • Dry periods

Step 2a: Identify and assess risks - climate effects and impact

Approach and results 

Anticipated consequences of climate change include, in particular, an increase in temperature extremes, a higher variability in precipitation between years, the further retreat of glaciers and thawing of permafrost zones, more frequent water scarcity in summer, reduced snow reliability in winter, and an increase in the occurrence and magnitude of extreme weather events and natural hazards.

Step 2b: Identify and assess risks - Vulnerability, risks and chances

Approach and results 

Vulnerability is seen as a product of exposure, susceptibility and adaptive capacity (according to the IPCC). Strategic recommendations are given for the climate change vulnerability assessment.

The results of the vulnerability assessment and the climate change fitness of the spatial planning instruments and processes are: The climate-proofing of spatial planning is a basic necessity, i.e., a "climate change fitness check" of spatial planning measures and projects should become standard practice. Not only do the effects of projects and plans on the climate need to be assessed (e.g. decreased/increased carbon emission), but also the possible influence of a changing climate on the projects and plans (for example, defining a reference scenario for flooding). For the "climate-proofing" of spatial planning policies and programs, existing Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) procedures and instruments can be used.

Step 3: Develop and compare measures

Measures and/or strategies 

Climate change information and vulnerability assessments are provided across all sectors to support climate adaptation processes, in particular, the development of adaptation strategies and measures in spatial planning. The adaptation measures in the model regions will be assessed in terms of their effectiveness for spatial planning.

Special attention must be paid to adaptation measures for climate-proof planning in the following four key areas:

  1. Protect open and green spaces: support airflow for cooling, networking of habitats and protection of ecological corridors, reduction of heat stress in residential areas and protection of flood retention and draining areas;
  2. Urban planning: promote "green" building technologies, improvement of the infrastructure for handling heavy precipitation, drinking water supply, horizontal and vertical greening of urban spaces, creation of "blue" spaces (water) for cooling;
  3. Natural hazard management: more effective implementation of flood protection and avalanche zone plans, stricter zoning regulations and restrictions for building in danger zones, take climate change scenarios into account for threat assessment and management;
  4. Water management: spatial planning has a bearing on several water management tasks such as flood protection, water conservation areas, water supply and wastewater infrastructures.
Time horizon
  • 2071–2100 (far future)


Funding / Financing 

European Union, Austrian states of Salzburg, Upper Austria, and Styria (cooperation between Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Liechtenstein, Italy and Slovenia)

Project management 

Umweltbundesamt (Austria)


•BMLFUW – Bundesministerium für Land- und Forstwirtschaft, Umwelt und Wasserwirtschaft, Sektion Forst (Österreich);
•Salzburg – Amt der Salzburger Landesregierung, Abteilung Raumplanung;
•Steiermark – Amt der Steiermärkischen Landesregierung;
•Oberösterreich - Amt der Oberösterreichischen Landesregierung;
•STMWIVT - Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wirtschaft, Infrastruktur, Verkehr und Technologie;
•MATT - Ministerio dell'Ambiente e della Tutela del Territorio e del Mare;
•EURAC - Accademia Europea di Bolzano;
•Alessandria - Provincia di Alessandria;
•UIRS - Urbanistini institut Republike Slovenije;
•UNEP - United Nations Environment Programme;
•ARE - Schweizer Bundesamt für Raumentwicklung, Strategiegruppe Polititk des Ländlichen Raumes;
•Graubünden - Amt für Raumentwicklung;
•Liechtenstein, Fürstentum Liechtenstein, Ressort Umwelt, Raum, Land- und Waldwirtschaft;


Umweltbundesamt GmbH
Spittelauer Lände 5
A-1090 Wien

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Fields of action:
 agriculture  buildings  energy infrastructure  spatial planning, urban and settlement development  tourism industry  water regime and water management  woodland and forestry