From flood safety to risk management. The rise and demise of engineers in the Netherlands and the United States?
Resilience Management & Governance
“Floods can have disastrous consequences, not only in terms of economic damage, but lives are at stake as well. At the same time, areas at risk to flooding harbor fertile agricultural lands, are often strategically located for international shipping and commerce, and provide good conditions for industrial production. Many cities already emerged along rivers and coasts, and the expectation is that more people will be drawn to these areas in the future. Due to a combination of climate change and the continued urbanization of delta regions, the costs of flood incidents rose substantially over the last decades. Floods now rank on the top of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s list of most disastrous natural hazards.
These developments have challenged traditional “safety” approaches in flood governance, that aim to reduce the chance of flooding by building structural flood defenses such as levees. Instead, countries have turned to “spatial-planning” measures that aim to minimize the damage done by flood events by preventing further developments in flood-prone areas or by making these developments flood-proof. This turn to spatial-planning measures has important implications for how costs and responsibilities are divided in flood governance. This thesis examines the role of experts in shaping these distributive changes. Using a micro-perspective on institutional change, it traces back the role of experts in two empirical case studies: the Netherlands and the United States. It shows to what extent and how experts influenced the distribution of costs and responsibilities in Dutch and American flood governance.”
(Citaat: Bergsma, E.J. – From flood safety to risk management. The rise and demise of engineers in the Netherlands and the United States? (PhD Thesis 10 February 2017))