Resilience measure: Land use plan / spatial planning


Spatial planning systems are the methods used by the public sector to influence the distribution of people and activities in spaces of various scales, whereas land use plans govern/regulate the possibilities of construction on the territory of the municipality through definition of building codes and zoning ordinances (Nilsson K. and Rydén L., p.205). With increasing human alteration and development of the catchment area, the runoff generation process is changed, especially through decreasing the infiltration capacity of the soil and the change of soil cover. This has lead to concern over the role human alterations of the catchments play in increasing flood hazards. Urbanisation disrupts nature drainage patterns, natural watercourses are destroyed and the natural retention of runoff by plants and soil is removed. All structural flood management interventions need to be incorporated into the land use planning process to safeguard spatial requirements of those measures now and in the future in order to reduce flooding. Additionally, spatial planning reduces susceptibility to damage but having as requirement the availability of flood hazard maps that indicate the areas exposed to flooding for flood events of a given return period. Based on those maps different flood hazard zones can be delineated and placed under land-use regulation to limit the flood damage potential in those areas. Those regulations are tools to prescribe what uses are possible and under which conditions. Such conditions can also be put in place in terms of building regulations and codes. Further they can be used to prescribe adjustments to existing developments in those area, e.g. flood proofing or relocation of existing developments. Land use planning and regulation also plays a key role in balancing the development requirements and the preservation of the natural resources on flood plains. (World Meteorological Organization and the Global Water Partnership, 2008).

Co-benefits and impacts

Regulation of urbanisation is the primary benefit. But integrated flood management with urban land use planning as a development policy concept ensures a balance between the development needs of society and the flood risks oriented towards the maximization of net-benefits derived from the flood plains to ensure sustainable development. (World Meteorological Organization and the Global Water Partnership, 2008).

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Last modified: Sept. 15, 2016, 8:13 a.m.