New paper in Cities

New paper in Cities: a historical perspective on the thorny relationship between spatial planning and flood risk management

A new paper based on the PhD thesis of Meng Meng (formerly at TUD, now at SCUT), has just been accepted for publication in Cities.


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This paper co-authored by Meng Meng, Marcin Dąbrowski, Liang Xiong and Dominic Stead explores the historical experience of Guangzhou’s spatial planning system striving for flood resilience as well as the evolution of planning policies and flood governance. We build on the notion path dependence and path deviation, originating from social science and governance management, to research on the change and continuity of planning policies. We explore the conditions allowing for path deviation concerning institutional environment, socio-economic context and natural hazards. We also develop a theoretical framework for planning to act upon flood affairs through avoidance, defence, mitigation, preparation and evacuation. Finally, we discuss the challenges of the Sponge City Programme and sheds light on the conditions for a successful transition from the current situation to new “Sponge City” practices. Thus, we learn from the past about the current challenges encountered in the implementation of blue-green solutions for mitigating flood riks in the urban space in Guangzhou.

Cite as: Meng, M., Dąbrowski, M., Xiong, L., & Stead, D. (Accepted/In press). Spatial planning in the face of flood risk: Between inertia and transition. Cities, [103702].