Investigating social processes that underpin local flood risk management action

Rosalind Bark, Mike Acreman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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As climate change erodes current levels of flood protection in the UK and government investment in ‘hard’ flood risk management (hFRM) is rationed by cost-benefit ratios, the option for many communities at-risk is to implement local ‘soft’ FRM (sFRM). The frequency of widespread flooding generates an added urgency to understand how to support sFRM. Using a case study and qualitative analysis, we explore social processes (SPs), such as acculturation, that drive stakeholder adaptation to be more flood resilient. We conceptualise the status quo beleaguered by conflict and competition and propose practices of accommodation and cooperation that can support shared objectives and responsibility that strengthen sFRM. Our conceptual model is mapped on a stylised catchment to illustrate how SPs underpin sFRM interventions that join-up the catchment in wholescape thinking. The transferable learning is that there are group behaviours and inclusive practices that can initiate and support local sFRM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-102
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science & Policy
Early online date8 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • social processes
  • flood risk management
  • soft FRM
  • wholescape thinking
  • vision-making

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