Can Water Resilient City Strategies and Projects Be Realized in Practice? The Governance Assessment Tool

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Can water resilient city strategies and projects be realized in practice? The Governance Assessment Tool Cities and regions all over the world strive for more sustainable development and for the ability to absorb and recover from disruptions back into a liveable status, a goal that is often called “resilience” nowadays. Working towards making a city more resilient implies the design and adjustment of city-wide strategies and concrete projects. For both strategies and projects their contribution to becoming more “water sensitive” and resilient depends on whether they can be realized in practice. The “governance assessment tool” is designed to get more insight in this. Are the social and administrative circumstances helpful or restrictive for realizing a specific strategy or project in practice? That is not only important while trying to get things done. Already when designing or adjusting a strategy or a project, one should reckon with its feasibility in practice. The governance assessment tool discerns five dimensions of governance and uses four evaluative criteria. Learning from dozens of real-life water projects first of all showed the importance of completeness (E.g.: aren’t there community organisations missing that are needed to get things done? Or are there authority rights missing?). A second criterion is that of coherence (E.g.: aren’t the problem perceptions so divergent that a common basis for agreements is missing? Do different policy sectors like water management, spatial planning, energy transition, health and flood protection demand contradictory requirements?). To avoid the obstacles in time and to fully use the opportunities as they arise requires adaptive management. That is why the governance assessment tool also acknowledges the importance of flexibility in the social and administrative context, allowing for such adaptiveness. Lastly, long time-horizons and dynamic circumstances create the need for a stable and strong pressure for change towards moving in the direction of a water-sensitive and resilient city. The governance assessment tool has by now been used in research projects in twelve countries for assessing the support for water projects and on top of that also in six countries for measures of other policies, like energy policy and sustainable industrial parks. This shows the broad applicability of the tool. However, all of these projects were done by researchers, that understood the theory behind the tool. In the framework of Interreg project CATCH (on water-sensitive cities) a version was developed that gives much clearer guidelines for its use, at the expense of being much more specific (on working towards a water-sensitive city of somewhat more broadly, a resilient city; and viewed from the perspective of local civil servants or administrator)s. This paper presents and discusses this specified version.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020
EventECPR General Conference Online 2020 - Virtual Event
Duration: 24 Aug 202028 Aug 2020


ConferenceECPR General Conference Online 2020


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