Urban flood resilience, a discursive-institutional analysis of planning practices in the Metropolitan City of Milan
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SourceLand Use Policy, 95, (2020), article 104575
09 april 2020
Article / Letter to editor
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Land Use Policy
SubjectInstitute for Management Research
Flood risk is increasing all over the globe due to urbanization and the effects of climate change. Water managers and urban planners try to cope with flood risk by enhancing urban flood resilience. Three main discourses of resilience are engineering, ecological, and socio-ecological resilience. Whereas the discourse of engineering resilience emphasizes the use of flood protection infrastructures, the discourses of ecological and socio-ecological resilience advocate river restoration and spatial strategies to reduce flood risk. In this paper, we investigate which resilience discourse is dominant in the Lambro river basin (Metropolitan City of Milan), and how this discourse has been translated into institutions (rules-in-use) and outcomes, such as flood protection infrastructures or building regulations. Our discursive-institutional analysis is informed by the (politicized) Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework, which highlights the role of discursive, institutional, and contextual factors in explaining the outcomes of strategic interactions within action arenas. It is shown that whereas bottom-up initiatives try to foster socio-ecological resilience, the engineering resilience discourse still dominates within the Lambro river basin because national policies and funds are geared towards hard infrastructure measures.
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