SWA Group’s New “Climate Infrastructure Framework” Identifies 19 Strategies for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

San Francisco, CA (July 6, 2023)SWA Group has published a comprehensive “Climate Infrastructure Framework” focusing on applied landscape-based strategies for climate change mitigation and adaptation. The framework is designed to open up possibilities for climate action at the earliest stages of a project, and to help boost climate literacy for both clients and design teams. Initially created as a guide for goal-setting and accountability within the firm, the simple, easy-to-understand framework can be utilized for design projects of all scales across all geographic regions, and is now available on SWA’s website as a helpful resource for the design industry.

As a whole, the built environment accounts for immense embodied and operational greenhouse gas emissions, while being overwhelmingly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The framework showcases four primary methods for shrinking the built environment’s carbon footprint and helping communities adapt to the effects of climate change, exemplified by 19 design strategies. In SWA’s work, the firm enacts and encourages these strategies to ensure that every project can serve as critical infrastructure in communities’ battle against climate change.


The four identified methods are:


  • Flatten Emissions. (Mitigation)
    Limit the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted during a project’s entire life cycle.


  • Sequester Carbon. (Mitigation)
    Capture, absorb, and store as much atmospheric carbon as possible.


  • Modulate Excess. (Adaptation)
    Establish barriers against extreme, climate-driven forces including excess heat, rain, wind, and wildfire.


  • Accommodate Disturbance. (Adaptation)
    Help communities and landscapes prepare for, withstand, and bounce back from the effects of climate change.


Informed by literature review, existing certification programs, and case studies including resilience, net zero carbon, and performance-based sustainable options, the strategies within these four methods include both quantifiable design choices and those based on precedent.


“We created this framework to help designers consider a wide range of climate strategies at the very beginning of a project,”  said Jonah Susskind, a Senior Research Associate at SWA’s Sausalito studio, and a member of the larger SWA research and innovation platform, XL Lab. “The goal is that this resource will help lower the barriers to action, ensuring that every built project can serve future communities as critical climate infrastructure.”


Explore the SWA Climate Infrastructure Framework here.


About SWA 

Founded in 1960, SWA is a world-renowned, 100-percent employee-owned landscape architecture, planning and urban design firm with a mission to designing for a more livable world. We believe that public realm is an essential part of the infrastructure of great cities, and design parks, streets, plazas, and open space in ways that foster vitality, equity, and resilience. The firm’s work varies in scale and character in keeping with each project’s particular setting and client aspirations. SWA has studios in Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Laguna Beach, New York, San Francisco, Sausalito, and Shanghai. For more information, please visit www.swagroup.com.


Media Contacts:


Michelle DiLello

Blue Medium, Inc.



Liz Batchelder

SWA Group