Flood proof design and planning

What is flood proof design and planning?

In layer 2, the spatial adaptation layer, preventive measures taken reduce consequences and damage of flood events by keeping water away from people and flood prone areas. Preventive measures require proactive spatial planning and flood-proof spatial design. Proactive spatial planning refers to removal of measures or relocation of construction in flood prone areas and appropriate land use (flood risk modeling, assessment, flood risk zoning). Flood-proof spatial design implies the adaptation of existing and future constructions (adjustments of existing houses and infrastructure).

Flood proof and planning and FRAMES

A total of four pilots focused on improving flood proof zoning design at property and neighbourhood level. Ninove, Geraardsbergen, Denderleeuw pilots (in Belgium) aimed at improving zoning of developments in flood prone areas. On the other hand, Butt Green Shield (UK) and Ninove (Belgium) aimed at reducing surface flood risk from extreme rainfall via increasing storage capacity in private and public space.

How is flood proof design and planning linked to the layers of MLS?

The implementation of spatial adaptation measures benefits the other layers of the MLS approach:

  • Layer 2, spatial adaptation: (a) reduced flood risk increasing water storage capacity; (b) improve the zoning of flood prone areas considering vulnerable areas and communities.
  • Layer 3, preparedness and response: raising flood risk awareness leads to capacity building among local community groups (citizens, schools) for flood preparedness; this overall NFM increases community resilience.
  • Layer 4, resilient recovery: when flood preparedness measures are taken this leads to a better flood recovery for communities.

What are the lessons learnt?

For a full list of the main lessons learnt from the pilots working on flood proof zoning, please click here.

Relevant adaptive capacities

To accomplish actions successfully, certain capacities are more needed than others. More specifically: the combination of flood risk management strategies in response to climate change depends on the adaptation space and capacity of institutions (Berkhout, Hertin and Gann, 2006). Since institutions have the ability to stimulate the capacity of  a society to adapt to climate change from the local to the national level (Gupta et al., 2010), stakeholders and organizations involved in FRAMES focused on the development of adaptive capacities at local and regional level.

The adaptive capacities that were employed and developed during the pilot projects working on flood proof design and planning are shown in the spiderweb below. We will provide more detail for those capacities that significantly increased during the pilots.

Flood proof design and planning.pngFigure 1:Development of adaptive capacities in flood proof design and planning

  • Diversity of solutions: think outside the box. When it is tradition to manage flood risk looking at hard infrastructure, you can pay more attention to ways to diversify FRM using spatial adaptation measures
  • Multi-actor/sector/level: involve all stakeholders from all levels. In Ninove, Belgium, spatial planners and water managers  involvedcitizens from flood prone areas
  • Act according to plan: develop a vision and an action plan, as the stakeholders did in the Ninove pilot.
  • Capacity to improvise: involve local communities. The involvement local communities leads to an increase in their social capital to deal with floods as well as an increase of flood risk awareness
  • Leadership: visionary and collaborative. This type of leadership is indispensable when it comes to integrating spatial planning in FRM. Flood risk management experts, spatial planners and land-users need to work together to new frames for adaptive co-management.
  • Double loop learning: considering the large investments and high impact on land-use there remains a clear need to embed spatial planning in law
  • Accountability: large investments demand clear accountability procedures.

What tools were used in pilots working on flood proof design and planning?

There are many tools that can be used to link flood proof zoning to MLS. The FRAMES pilots have selected and successfully used the tools listed in the table below. More information can be found by clicking on the links provided.

We also uploaded a full list of all tools used to improve the management of MLS.

Name Main objective Description
Stakeholder analysis Identify all stakeholders in the area A stakeholder analysis will identify all actors along with their interests and potential issues who will have a role in MLS before engaging them in the process.
Surveys Collect data regarding perceptions and awareness of stakeholders Surveys collect data about the perceptions and level of awareness of inhabitants, stakeholders, policy makers and organisations about (perceived) flood risk, flood preparedness and flood recovery.
Research by design approach Collect data with emphasis on participation from the community This approach  aims at uniting flood-prone citizens, private stakeholders and local/supra-local public actors in roundtables in order to find cross-sectoral solutions to common challenges.
Community based approach / participation approach Collect data with emphasis on participation from the community Approach to include those (potentially) affected as key partners in developing strategies related to their assistance and protection.
Vision and Action Plan Use when developing adaptive plans for the future Vision and action plans can be developed to climate/flood proof the area/region with specific spatial adaptation measures.
School programs to increase flood awareness Self-assessment tools for community resilience + communication Increase the flood risk awareness of students, teachers and parents by visiting schools and playing educational games with the students.
The Story  Map Cascade Self-assessment tools for community resilience + dissemination + communication The Story Map Cascade, developed by ESRI, is a type of website which  aims to make rich layers of geographical information easily accessible and useful to both professionals and the wider public. As such, it can help disseminate the results to a wider audience and ensure durability of results beyond the lifetime of the project.

Story Map apps are open source.

GIS analysis of social characteristics Exploration of different social vulnerability indicators Explore the social (in)justice to floods through an analysis of the social characteristics of the exposed populations by using a GIS-analysis of the spatial distribution of the different social vulnerability indicators.
Social media Communication and dissemination To increase and improve the flood awareness and self-efficacy of citizens and organizations, social media channels are advised to be used: YouTubeTwitter, Facebook, local press (TV, newspaper, magazines, radio), websites, newsletters, brochures, leaflets, events and meetings.  ·


Hier wordt aan gewerkt of naar verwezen door: Layer 2- Spatial adaptation