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Pluvial Flooding in Utrecht: On Its Way to a Flood-Proof City

Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, Princetonlaan 8a, 3584 CB Utrecht, The Netherlands
KWR Watercycle Research Institute, Groningenhaven 7, 3433 PE Nieuwegein, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(7), 1501;
Received: 24 May 2019 / Revised: 15 July 2019 / Accepted: 17 July 2019 / Published: 19 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Flood Risk Governance for More Resilience)
Downpours are increasing in frequency and severity due to climate change. Cities are particularly susceptible to flooding from downpours because of their large share of impervious surfaces. Minimising pluvial flood risk requires all involved stakeholders to collaborate and overcome various barriers. Although an increase in citizen engagement in climate adaptation is generally preferred, experiences with inclusive decision-making are often limited. The aim of this paper is to obtain a deeper understanding of how the capacity to govern pluvial flood risk can be developed through citizen engagement. We scrutinised the capacity of local actors to govern pluvial flood risk in the city of Utrecht, the Netherlands. For the analysis of Utrecht’s problem-solving capacity, the Governance Capacity Framework provided a consistent assessment of the key governance components. The results indicate that Utrecht’s capacity to govern pluvial flooding is relatively well-developed. Collaboration between public authorities is advanced, sufficient financial resources are available, and smart monitoring enables high levels of evaluation and learning. However, citizen awareness and engagement in policy making is rather low. Accordingly, citizens’ willingness to pay for flood adaptation is limited. Stimulating flood risk awareness by combining financial incentives with more advanced arrangements for active citizen engagement is key for Utrecht and other cities. View Full-Text
Keywords: citizen engagement; flood risk governance; governance capacity; climate adaptation citizen engagement; flood risk governance; governance capacity; climate adaptation
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Brockhoff, R.C.; Koop, S.H.A.; Snel, K.A.W. Pluvial Flooding in Utrecht: On Its Way to a Flood-Proof City. Water 2019, 11, 1501.

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