Governance Assessment of the Flood’s Infrastructure Policy in San Pedro Cholula, Mexico: Potential for a Leapfrog to Water Sensitive

Cesar Casiano Flores*, Joep Crompvoets, Maria Eugenia Ibarraran Viniegra, Megan Farrelly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
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Climate change together with population growth and land-use change have increased the risk of urban floods. Urban floods cause severe damages to cities and their inhabitants, and they are expected to increase over time. Consequently, urban adaptation is required to shift from traditional infrastructure (grey) to multifunctional infrastructure (blue-green) for improved flood management. Until recently, studies on the role and adoption of blue-green infrastructure have centered around large cities in developed countries, including Melbourne and Rotterdam, among others. Meanwhile, middle-sized cities in developing countries have received less attention. According to the Urban Water Management Transition Framework (UWMTF), cities in developing countries can learn from the experiences of developed cities and leapfrog to more ‘water sensitive’ practices. Although leapfrogging is context-dependent, our understanding of factors that support leapfrogging remains embryonic. This paper contributes to the scholarly understanding of the governance factors that support and limit leapfrogging. By applying the Governance Assessment Tool through semi-structured interviews and reviewing secondary data, this research assessed the implementation of flood protection infrastructure in San Pedro Cholula, a middle size city of Mexico. This work found the most supportive quality for delivering multifunctional infrastructure, was the extent of the governance system. The governance support extent was rated as moderate-low considering the platform for change is limited to government actors, which has further reinforced traditional approaches to infrastructure. In addition, the necessary governance features of coherence, flexibility and intensity were assessed as constraining change, with flexibility being the least supportive governance factor and ultimately hindering social actors’ participation and innovation. While the contemporary governance arrangements of San Pedro Cholula are not yet conducive to promoting a leapfrog in the delivery of urban flood infrastructure, the analysis has pointed to three catalytic factors to underpin a leapfrogging situation: trans-disciplinary science; cross-sector partnerships; and, innovation experiments.
Original languageUndefined
Article number7144
Number of pages28
JournalSustainability and climate change
Issue number24
Early online date13 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

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