Learning to Swim: Strengthening Flooding Governance in the City of Cape Town

Programme Type: ProjectsPublishing Programme: Urban Flooding CityLab
Publication Date: 2009

Vulnerability to flooding is a growing concern in cities of the South, where resources are concentrated and poor people often settle in flood prone areas. Climate change projections of increased intensity and frequency of extreme rainfall events suggest flooding impacts will grow in future, demanding improved response to current flood risk in order to adapt. Attempts by the City of Cape Town to reduce flood risk in informal settlements have not been successful, mainly because of institutional and governance constraints that result in a focus on narrow technical solutions and on the provision of disaster relief. This paper explores the notion of flooding governance and how it might be used to suggest ways to strengthen flood management strategies, particularly through colloborative governance across the local and city scale in the context of adaptation to climate change. The challenges associated with flood risk management in the City of Cape Town are discussed before presenting how a new project at the University of Cape Town aims to address these challenges.

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flooding_governance_in_ct_conference_paper_ziervogel_smit_nov_2009.pdf