PUBLICATION Journal article

Mapping flood risk uncertainty zones in support of Urban Resilience Planning

River flooding and urbanization are processes of different character that take place worldwide. As the latter tends to make the consequences of the former worse, together with the uncertainties related to future climate change and flood-risk modeling, there is a need to both use existing tools and develop new ones that help the management and planning of urban environments. In this article a prototype tool, based on estimated maximum land cover roughness variation, the slope of the ground, and the quality of the used digital elevation models, and that can produce flood ‘uncertainty zones’ of varying width around modeled flood boundaries, is presented. The concept of uncertainty, which urban planners often fail to consider in the spatial planning process, changes from something very difficult into an advantage in this way. Not only may these uncertainties be easier to understand by the urban planners, but the uncertainties may also function as a communication tool between the planners and other stakeholders. Because flood risk is something that urban planners always need to consider, these uncertainty zones can function both as buffer areas against floods, and as blue-green designs of significant importance for a variety of ecosystem services. As the Earth is warming and the world is urbanizing at rates and scales unprecedented in history, we believe that new tools for urban resilience planning are not only urgently needed, but also will have a positive impact on urban planning.

Keywords: digital elevation models, ecosystem services, flood map uncertainties, GIS tool, river floods, urban resilience

Brandt, S.A., N.J. Lim, J. Colding, and S. Barthel. 2021. Mapping flood risk uncertainty zones in support of Urban Resilience Planning. Urban Planning 6(3):258-271.