Transformative approaches to flood risk management: International case study (Louisiana, USA)

Stacey A. Burge, Ioan Fazey, Gary Hinks, James Butler, Jeannette Dubinin, Justin Kozak, Beverley A. Searle

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Across the planet. low-lying coastal areas face an existential crisis because of increasing water risk. This is due to a combination of historic flood management and climactic changes such as rising global temperatures. Many current mitigation efforts do not fully address the level of risk these places are experiencing. In this respect. innovations that transform existing systems offer new approaches to water risk management through different thinking and re-patterning of activities.

    Transformative innovations can help resolve climate challenges because they incite deep change whilst maintaining the integrity of the broader system. This paper identifies such innovations and explores how
    they can be implemented and supported in the context of flood risk mitigation in South Louisiana. The findings of this can be transferred to mitigation efforts in the UK where climate change threatens current
    processes and risk management efforts.

    The principle result was that innovations with capacity to transform management processes do exist, however current systems cannot successfully accommodate these. A key conclusion was that to better support these interventions, mindsets need to first adapt to new ways of thinking about environmental risk. This is possible through disrupting domineering social paradigms surrounding living with water, such as adapting key functions of local water services. Mindset changes therefore effectively support transformation by encouraging new approaches to risk management. This study also highlights the involvement of the personal dimension in researching transformative change, and how this may be considered further when addressing climate issues.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)30-37
    Number of pages8
    JournalInstitute of Water Journal
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    • transformation
    • disruptioni
    • innovations
    • climate change
    • flood risk
    • water hazards
    • risk response


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