Hess Opinions: An interdisciplinary research agenda to explore the unintended consequences of structural flood protection

  • One common approach to cope with floods is the implementation of structural flood protection measures, such as levees or flood-control reservoirs, which substantially reduce the probability of flooding at the time of implementation. Numerous scholars have problematized this approach. They have shown that increasing the levels of flood protection can attract more settlements and high-value assets in the areas protected by the new measures. Other studies have explored how structural measures can generate a sense of complacency, which can act to reduce preparedness. These paradoxical risk changes have been described as "levee effect", "safe development paradox" or "safety dilemma". In this commentary, we briefly review this phenomenon by critically analysing the intended benefits and unintended effects of structural flood protection, and then we propose an interdisciplinary research agenda to uncover these paradoxical dynamics of risk.

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Author details:Giuliano Di BaldassarreORCiD, Heidi KreibichORCiDGND, Sergiy VorogushynORCiDGND, Jeroen Aerts, Karsten Arnbjerg-NielsenORCiD, Marlies BarendrechtORCiD, Paul BatesORCiD, Marco BorgaORCiD, Wouter Botzen, Philip BubeckORCiD, Bruna De Marchi, Carmen Maria LlasatORCiD, Maurizio Mazzoleni, Daniela Molinari, Elena MondinoORCiD, Johanna MardORCiD, Olga PetrucciORCiD, Anna Scolobig, Alberto ViglioneORCiD, Philip J. Ward
Title of parent work (English):Hydrology and earth system sciences : HESS
Place of publishing:Göttingen
Publication type:Article
Date of first publication:2018/10/30
Completion year:2018
Release date:2021/07/20
Number of pages:9
First page:5629
Last Page:5637
Funding institution:European Research Council (ERC)European Research Council (ERC) [761678]; Innovation Fund Denmark through the Water Smart Cities Project [5157-0009B]; Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit AwardRoyal Society of London; Leverhulme Research FellowshipLeverhulme Trust; Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) [016.161.324, 45214005]
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Geowissenschaften
DDC classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 55 Geowissenschaften, Geologie / 550 Geowissenschaften
Peer review:Referiert
Publishing method:Open Access / Gold Open-Access
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License (German):License LogoCC BY - Namensnennung, 4.0 International