Societal transformation and adaptation necessary to manage dynamics in flood hazard and risk mitigation (TRANS-ADAPT)

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Facing the challenges of climate change, this project aims to analyse and to evaluate the multiple use of flood alleviation schemes with respect to social transformation in communities exposed to flood hazards in Europe. The overall goals are: 

  1. the identification of indicators and parameters necessary for strategies to increase societal resilience
  2. an analysis of the institutional settings needed for societal transformation, and 
  3. perspectives of changing divisions of responsibilities between public and private actors necessary to arrive at more resilient societies.

This proposal assesses societal transformations from the perspective of changing divisions of responsibilities between public and private actors necessary to arrive at more resilient societies. Yet each risk mitigation measure is built on a narrative of exchanges and relations between people and therefore may condition the outputs. As such, governance is done by people interacting and defining risk mitigation measures as well as climate change adaptation are therefore simultaneously both outcomes of, and productive to, public and private responsibilities. Building off current knowledge this project will focus on different dimensions of adaptation and mitigation strategies based on social, economic and institutional incentives and settings, centring on the linkages between these different dimensions and complementing existing flood risk governance arrangements. The policy dimension of adaptation, predominantly decisions on the societal admissible level of vulnerability and risk, will be evaluated by a human-environment interaction approach using multiple methods and the assessment of social capacities of stakeholders across scales. As such, the challenges of adaptation to flood risk will be tackled by converting scientific frameworks into practical assessment and policy advice. In addressing the relationship between these dimensions of adaptation on different temporal and spatial scales, this project is both scientifically innovative and policy relevant, thereby supporting climate policy needs in Europe towards a concept of risk governance.


Expected results
This project will be centred on case studies in Austria, France, Ireland and the Netherlands. In these countries flood risk management has been institutionalised for decades, but with different institutional settings. As a result, multiple dimensions of vulnerability as well as challenges at the science-policy intersection can be comprehensively studied. This will help to identify wider lessons for other European regions currently working on the implementation of climate change adaptation strategies arising from flood risk. The project structure foresees three main steps. Step 1 (WP 1) focus on assessment framework for analysing and evaluating bottom-up flood risk management initiatives, where step 2 (WPs 2 and 3) foresees the empirical data collection and assessment of bottom-up initiatives. Step 3 (WPs 4 and 5) include the cataloguing of different multi-functional flood risk management strategies. The objective is to analyse, explain and evaluate similarities and differences between the selected regions in terms of adaptation performance with a particular focus on measures at the local-household level, burden-sharing and equity issues. In summary, TRANS-ADAPT will analyse the motives of these initiatives by explaining factors that are relevant for their success and failure, by presenting best practices and by presenting recommendations/guidelines for further application of these initiatives in other institutional and organisational settings in response to the actual challenges of climate change to society. Further, we will research to what extent they are promising in solving local challenges and we will explore how we can learn from such initiatives.

Work Packages (read more)
  • WP 1: Assessment framework
  • WP 2: Review of the case studies
  • WP 3: Implementation and evaluation of selected innovative instruments and concepts
  • WP 4: Policy recommendations
Sven Fuchs, Institute of Mountain Risk Engineering
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences
Peter-Jordan-Stra├če 82
1190 Vienna, Austria
E-Mail: sven.fuchs(at)
Phone: (+43) 1 / 47654-4373 

Project Details
start date 01/11/2014 
end date   31/10/2017
Leading Principal Investigator   Associate Professor Sven Fuchs, University of Natural Resources
and Life Sciences, Austria
    Partner PIs from Austria, France, Ireland and the Netherlands
Awarded funding:   753 691 EUR


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