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Über dieses Buch

This book deals with the introduction of a new type of “spatial measures" in flood governance. In contrast to traditional “safety measures" that aim to provide protection against floods by building structural flood defenses such as levees and flood walls, the goal of spatial measures is to reduce the exposure to flood risks by changing the spatial layout of flood-prone areas. By limiting developments and flood-proofing buildings in areas at risk to flooding, investments in structural flood defenses can be circumvented and vulnerabilities reduce. World-wide, spatial measures are gaining attractiveness as a response strategy to increasing flood risks caused by climate change and urbanization. The introduction of spatial measures in flood governance involves more than the simple development of new policies and laws. Research has demonstrated that the implementation of spatial measures can have huge implications for how costs and responsibilities are divided between different levels of governance and between public and private actors, changing the whole organization behind flood governance. Both for the effectiveness and for the legitimacy of spatial flood governance strategies, it is important that these distributive implications are well understood. This book describes the introduction of spatial measures in the context of two very different delta countries: the Netherlands and the United States. In the United States, a spatial flood governance strategy was already developed in de mid-20th century whereas in the Netherlands, a safety paradigm institutionalized over the course of the 20th century and spatial measures have only recently been introduced. By analyzing the science-policy interactions underlying the implementation of spatial measures in both countries, this book shows how under the influence of different types of experts (engineers in the Netherlands and social geographers in the United States) different spatial flood management strategies emerged with different distributive implications, each with its own challenges for effectiveness and legitimacy.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. A Framework for Analyzing Distributive Decision-Making in Flood Governance

This chapter outlines a framework for analyzing cost and responsibility distributions in flood governance. The framework is based on an environmental politics perspective that draws attention to the role of experts in devising risk management solutions. A key concern that develops from this perspective is that experts—consciously or unconsciously—determine the distributive aspects of risk management solutions without a proper democratic debate on these distributions in the decision-making process. The framework draws on theories of institutional change to grasp the contextual and historical embeddedness of expert-influence in flood governance. It forwards the analytical perspective of framing to empirically analyze the influence of experts on distributions in flood governance.
Emmy Bergsma

Chapter 2. Establishing Safety Institutions in Dutch Flood Governance: A Political Genealogy of the Zuiderzee Works

This chapter analyses the relationship between experts and policymakers in the policymaking process of the Dutch Zuiderzee Works (the construction of the Afsluitdijk and related land reclamations in the former Zuiderzee) that took place from 1888–1932. In this process, key elements of the Dutch safety approach to floods were formed. The aim of this chapter is to showcase the role of experts in the establishment of the safety approach in the Netherlands, to use as ground for comparison in later analyses of the shift to spatial measures in this book. This chapter reconstructs the policymaking process on the Zuiderzee Works to investigate which experts were involved in this process, how these experts influenced the policy discourse on floods through their interaction with policymakers, and how this influenced distributive decision-making in this process. It finds that the interaction between experts and policymakers led to the formulation of a “strong” policy frame on floods. However, rather than toning down the attention for distributive aspects, this policy frame actually invited counter-interpretations and facilitated the recognition of distributive impacts of policy choices.
Emmy Bergsma

Chapter 3. Engineering Space: Spatial Flood Risk Management in the Netherlands

The previous chapter concentrated on the formation of the safety approach in Dutch flood governance. This chapter starts out with a brief overview of the institutionalization of this approach over time, to then analyze the gradual shift to spatial measures which has set in since the 1990s. The analysis focuses on three measures with an important spatial component: Room for the River, flood insurance, and the Second Delta Program, which were except for flood insurance implemented in the Netherlands. The chapter reconstructs the policymaking processes underlying these measures. In particular, it looks at the role of experts in these processes and analyses the implications of expert-involvement on the recognition of distributive implications of spatial measures in the decision-making process. The chapter concludes that Dutch policymaking on floods continues to rely on institutionalized engineering expertise, which is ill-equipped to highlight local-level distributive implications brought forward by spatial policies in flood governance.
Emmy Bergsma

Chapter 4. From Levees to Flood Insurance: The Spatial Turn in US Flood Governance

This chapter focuses on the shift from a “safety” to a “spatial” approach in US flood governance, which took place over the course of the 20th century. It reconstructs the policymaking process underlyig to shift to analyze role and impacts of expert-influence on the distributive decision-making process. Three conclusions are drawn. First, that expert-influence should be understood as the product of the self-organization of expert-groups and political-contextual factors that set boundaries around what expertise was considered relevant in US flood governance. Second, while experts greatly influenced the development of spatial measures in the US, their involvement did not reduce political attention for the distributive implications of spatial policies. On the contrary, they contributed to a better understanding of these distributive implications by specifying the costs involved with spatial measures for different groups in society. Third, with the institutionalization of spatial measures in US flood governance, room was given to a new type of “administrative” experts, who placed emphasis on the operational effectiveness of the US spatial approach to floods. Because of this, past distributive choices were not reconsidered in the light of external developments in the policy field such as climate change.
Emmy Bergsma

Chapter 5. Policy Developments After Hurricane Katrina: A Case of Overcoming Uncertainty and Value Conflict

This chapter examines the policymaking process after hurricane Katrina severely challenged the spatial governance strategy in US flood governance, embodied in the National Flood Insurance Program. In this process, reforms adopted in 2012 to “repair” the National Flood Insurance Program were partly repealed in 2014 because they produced very high premium increases. This pendulum policy shift raises questions about the extent to which and way in which these distributive impacts of the 2012 policy reforms were recognized and discussed in the political decision-making process. This chapter analyses this question with a focus on the role of experts. The chapter concludes that under the rational-administrative expertise of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a technical understanding of the problem emerged which created support for a policy solution that aimed to repair the financial structure underlying the insurance program. In doing so, attention was drawn away from the distributive impacts of this policy solution on the ground. Rather than explaining these policy developments from expert involvement alone, this chapter concludes that this specific problem understanding evolved through the interactions between experts and political actors in a situated context, in which strategic actions and collective sense-making went hand in hand.
Emmy Bergsma

Chapter 6. A Comparative Analysis of Expert-Influence in Dutch and US Flood Governance

This book aimed at improving our understanding of the distributive implications of spatial flood governance measures and of the processes through which distributive decisions in flood governance are made. In these processes, the focus was on the role of experts; in policymaking on flood risk, experts not only specify the costs and benefits involved with different policy alternatives but in doing so also influence policy choices, including their distributive underpinnings. In this book, the role of experts in the shift to spatial measures was analyzed in two cases of Dutch and US flood governance. Based on a comparative analysis of both cases, this chapter concludes that expert-influence in these cases can best be understood as contextually embedded in its larger socio-political context, meaning that close relationships between experts and political actors developed in Dutch and US flood governance through which “strong” policy frames were produced. It calls for the incorporation of spatial-behavioral expertise in the shift to a spatial approach in flood governance to explicate the distributive implications of spatial measures. At the same time, national-level reflection should be ensured to reevaluate the political trade-offs underlying a spatial approach to floods in changing external conditions such as climate change.
Emmy Bergsma
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