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Thèse soutenue le 19 mars 2015

Jelena Batica
Directeur Thèse I-CiTy Philippe Gourbesville - Philippe Audra

Methodoloy for flood resilience assessment in urban environments and mitigation strategy development


Floods that happen in urban areas are governed by increased frequency. Existing flood defence structures demonstrate its downsides. One of the solutions is moving to risk culture and finding the balance between the shape of land use and urbanization through adaptation, mitigation, prevention, and response and recovery strategies.While managing the flood risk in urban areas, the priority is to minimize flood damages. The new holistic approach is based on resilience concept. Adding resilience to flood risk management is a first step. Through operational flood risk management has as benefit resilience. The potential of implementing resilience in urban flood management can provide a increased cost-effective component. Decrease of flood damages expresses increase efficiency and cost effectiveness of applied solution. This brings adds additional performance to flood risk management. Multidisciplinary approach that is provided by the resilience concept join forces of technical (structural) and measures on economic, environmental, social and institutional level. If established, flood resilient communities have effective means to increase adaptation capacity regarding flooding processes. The main reflection is on the development of method by evaluation of existing flood risk management (FRM) frameworks. Through evaluation, there is a possibility to notice the level of integration and implementation of crucial element of flood risk. As defined here the main elements (i) flood, (ii) vulnerability and (iii) exposure are the main elements. Using the evaluation principles the FRM framework is evaluated regarding achieved readiness level considering its elements, level of integration and implementation. If the readiness level is achieved the FRM can be developed in order to be moved towards resiliency.  The presented case studies in Europe and Asia all of different approaches and possibilities to evaluate resilience attributes as well as capacity of these urban systems regarding flooding processes. The differences in urban flooding problems in European and Asian cities vary from levels of economic development, infrastructure age, social systems and decision-making processes, to establish drainage methods, seasonality of rainfall patterns and climate change trends. Assessing flood resilience involves in equation flood damage, risk perception and vulnerability analysis. A role of resilience in sustainable development becomes significant. Developed methodology analyses urban system through different scales and elements (urban city functions and services). The purpose is to minimize the flood damages if possible. In most of the causes damages driven by floods can be minimized if urban system: already have implemented some of the existing active and passive protection measures, a community within the system is able to organize itself and to prevent more damages, the shape of a system is adapted to receive some disturbance, being able to learn from past events. Differences between urban systems analyzed in this thesis differ in many ways. Differences in case study areas start form different institutional organization. The priority made in the existing FRM frameworks differs in Europe and Asia. The level of urbanization and level of available assets in the analyzed cities is not the same. This contributes to different level of disturbances made during and after flood and make reflection on flood resilience in urban systems.  A very important thing is existing risk culture among analyzed areas. The level of economic preparedness differs and it is noticeable that even there are available financial resources. The developed method for evaluation of flood resilience is potentially applicable to any urban system on any geographic scale. Connections and dependences between main city elements and natural hazards (in this case urban flooding process) have to be defined. With its implementation, social, economic, political and cultural relations between cities will be more visible and better established. The approach should uncover the role of physical components of urban system and population in relation to urban flooding processes. A further strategy focuses on simulation of community losses and recovery measures. As a major challenge that faces urban systems nowadays, the research on resilience prioritizes in following years. A key recommendation proposes: improving resilience determines urban patterns, which are matching with optimal water distribution, waste collection, energy distribution, etc. The Flood Resilience Index (FRI) is developed as unique approach for evaluation of flood resilience in urban systems with the main priority on system structure when evaluation is done on micro and meso scale and on system dimension when flood resilience is evaluated on macro scale.