Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
Research Urban and Regional Studies Institute Research projects

Flood resilient cities? Resilience strategies in flood risk management and urban planning - a comparative analysis of London, Hamburg and Rotterdam

Principal researcher

Britta Restemeyer

Type of research



Prof.dr. Johan Woltjer

Dr. Thomas Klenke (University of Oldenburg)

Dr. Margo van den Brink


Globally, the number of damaging flood events has increased throughout the last century. Expected climate changes such as rising sea levels, prolonged periods of precipitation and more intense rainfall will likely add to future flood risk. Particularly cities – accommodating a multitude of people, businesses and ecosystems – are at risk. Continuous urban growth and a lack of conscientious planning even increase urban susceptibility towards flooding.

Traditional flood control measures are increasingly recognized as inadequate to dealing with growing risks. More holistic kinds of risk management approaches appear, focusing on the consequences of a flood hazard. These newer approached also include a shift from purely sectoral to integrated thinking, or, in other words, from pure water management to a more universal approach of integrating urban planning as a means to keep vulnerable land uses out of flood prone areas.

In this context, the concept of resilience is increasingly discussed as a framework to include risk and uncertainty into planning. While resilience once had a clear physical meaning (“resistance of a material to shocks”), today the concept is multi-interpretable and refers to an interdisciplinary field of research.

Aim of the research project is to operationalize the theoretical notion of resilience, and suggest policy strategies for creating flood resilient cities. The core of the research project involves a multi-method, comparative study on three exemplary cities, namely London, Hamburg and Rotterdam.

Last modified:03 March 2014 2.30 p.m.