Planning for flood resilient cities: From promise to practice?

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

    2106 Downloads (Pure)


    The idea of a ‘flood resilient city’ has gained prominence in academic as well as policy discourses. A city which can withstand or adapt to a flood event without being harmed in its functionality, and is even capable to transform to a new, less flood prone state when necessary. Although this sounds promising, it questions traditional approaches and institutions, asking for a stronger integration of flood risk management and spatial planning and new governance arrangements between state, market and civil society. This poses the question: how, and to what extent, has this promise been brought to practice?

    This thesis presents a study on how resilience is made sense of in long-term flood risk management strategies in the regions of London and Rotterdam. Moreover, it examines how flood resilience has been implemented in urban redevelopment projects in the cities of Hamburg and London. Altogether, this study shows that all three cities reveal tendencies of integrating flood resilience approaches into their existing approaches. However, resilience thinking seems to have been incorporated in a rather technical-rational way, with a strong focus on indicators and technical flood defence measures. More transformative approaches do not seem to be possible (yet), also because of questions about power, social justice and local capacities. While there are good reasons to hold onto the current system, more experiments with spatially and socially integrated flood resilience measures at smaller scales seem appropriate, in particular in light of future challenges regarding climate adaptation.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Woltjer, Johan, Supervisor
    • van den Brink, Margo, Co-supervisor
    Award date31-May-2018
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Print ISBNs978-94-034-0680-0
    Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-0679-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Cite this