A City Structure Adapted to Climate Change Scenarios for Future Frihamnen

Sweden will be affected by climate change, regardless of the level of success achieved by measures taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In order to reduce the risks and take advantage of the opportunities of a changing climate, climate adaptation must be integrated into urban planning and development work.

Attack, retreat and defense

The pilot project 'A City Structure Adapted to Climate Change: Scenarios for Future Frihamnen' examines how three different climate adaptation strategies — attack, retreat and defense — can be used in planning and development of the free-port area in Gothenburg. The focus is on how the district's planned buildings can be climate adapted to rising sea and water levels. The project investigates how the three different adaptation strategies would affect the area's sustainable development, i.e. the resulting economic, social and ecological consequences of each approach.

The project is transdisciplinary, which entails cross-border cooperation between practitioners and researchers from various disciplines. Through the use of workshops and focus groups, decision making support is developed for both practical and scientific results. The practical results will consist of a balanced assessment and report on how the climate adaptation concepts of attack, retreat and defense would affect the free-port area's sustainable development. The scientific results will touch upon conflicts of interest and conflicting objectives identified during the focus group work.


Consonance with nature, Maritime heritage, The Liveable city, Adaptation for sustainable building and Branding adaptation and sustainability, which Climate adaptation strategy do you chose? The project has resulted in these five strategies that now can serve as a basis for climate adaptation plans in the Free Port and potentially in other locations in and outside Gothenburg. The practical result is composed of a balanced assessment on how the climate change adaptation concepts, attack, retreat or defense will affect Freeport area's sustainable development.

Photo: City of Gothenburg, City Planning Authority. Illustrations: Sweco



Buhr, K., & Hjerpe, M. (2012). Expectations on corporate climate action under regulatory uncertainty. International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management, 4(4), 403–419. doi:10.1108/17568691211277737
Type: Scientific article (peer-reviewed)
Mistra Urban Futures Report from Klimatanpassad stadsstruktur: Scenarier för framtida Frihamnen. Gothenburg: Mistra Urban Futures, 2010
Type: Report/Paper/Working paper/Brief
Thörn, P., Moback, U., Buhr, K, Morrison, G., Knutsson, P. & Areslätt, H. (2011). Climate change adaptation of Frihamnen: visualising retreat, defend and attack. Conference poster presented at IWA Cities of the Future: Sustainable Urban Planning and Water Management, International Water Association. Stockholm, Sweden, 2011.
Type: Conference poster
Morrison, G. (2012). The climate adaptation and sustainability implications of five strategies for a waterfront development. Conference paper presented at the IWA World Congress on Water, Climate and Energy, International Water Association. Dublin, Ireland, 2012.
Type: Conference paper (peer-reviewed)
Roth, S., Thörn, P., Buhr, K., Moback, U., Morrison, G., Knutsson, P. & Areslätt, H. (2012). Frihamnen i ett förändrat klimat: Klimatanpassningsstrategiers påverkan på hållbar utveckling. (Mistra Urban Futures Report 2012:2). Gothenburg: Mistra Urban Futures.
Type: Report/Paper/Working paper/Brief


  • Klimatanpassningsstrategier för Frihamnen i Göteborg