Driven by urban growth in hazard prone areas such as along coasts or rivers as well as by climate change induced sea-level rise and increase in extreme rainfall, flood risk in urban areas is increasing. Better understanding of risks, risk drivers and its consequences in urban areas have revealed shortcomings in the existing flood risk management approaches. This has led to a paradigm shift in dealing with floods from managing the risk to reduce damages, to making urban communities resilient to flooding. Often described as a complex and at times confusing concept, this systematic review identifies and summarises the different dimensions and approaches of urban flood resilience and how they are applied in practice. Our analysis shows that urban flood resilience as a concept has evolved over the last two decades. From an engineering concept with a strong focus on ensuring that the built environment can withstand a flood to a more recent definition as a transformative process with the aim to enable all parts of the urban system to live with floods and learn from previous shocks. This evolved understanding is also reflected in the increasing number of dimensions considered in urban flood resilience assessments and decision support tools. A thematic analysis of the challenges in conceptualising and applying urban flood resilience reported in the literature has revealed a number of issues including around fairness and equity of the applied approaches, a lack of data and widely accepted methods as well as uncertainty around changing risks as a result of climate change. Based on these findings we propose a new research agenda, focusing on meta studies to identify the key dimensions and criteria for urban flood resilience, supporting a transparent and evidence-led operationalization.

Viktor Rözer, Sara Mehryar and Swenja Surminski. Environmental Research Letters, Volume 17, Number 12 Citation Viktor Rözer et al 2022 Environ. Res. Lett. 17 123006 DOI 10.1088/1748-9326/aca8bc

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