Newsletter No 4 December 2011

New book on coastal cities and management of flood risk

cover spaceJeroen Aerts, Wouter Botzen and Philip Ward of the Institute for Environmental studies (IVM), of the VU University Amsterdam have published a new book entitled “Climate adaptation and flood risk in Coastal Cities”. The book was presented to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the Dutch Delta Conference.

Need for innovative flood risk management strategies

The recent floods in Thailand, Australia, and Pakistan have shown the devastating effects of large floods on societies and the economies of countries and cities. Climate change and socioeconomic developments – such as population growth – are expected to increase both the chance and the impacts of flooding on global coastal cities if we do not invest in innovative flood risk management strategies. Both scientists and policy-makers have addressed the issue of adapting to the challenge of climate change, and both call for embedding long-term scenarios in city planning and investments in all sectors. Since the choices we make today will influence vulnerability to climate risks in the future, it is important to link adaptation measures to, and benefit from, on-going investments in infrastructure and spatial planning, and to draw up detailed estimates of the benefits of adaptation. In this way, adaptation becomes a challenge rather than a threat, and climate adaptation may initiate opportunities and innovations for investors and spatial planners.

How can large cities deal with the problem of flooding?

The book explores different aspects of climate adaptation in coastal cities. It provides an overview of how large coastal cities can deal (and are dealing) with the problem of flooding, and how they can improve their adaptation strategies for the future. Methods and instruments are described for assessing the social, physical, and economic causes and impacts of flooding, and adaptation strategies are presented that are being used to cope with and manage flood risk. These adaptation strategies comprise a broad spectrum of measures that can be taken to limit flood risk, such as storm surge barriers, climate-resilient waterfronts and flood insurance arrangements. Flood risk is defined here as the probability of flooding multiplied by its consequences. Through in-depth case studies of the cities of New York, Jakarta, Hong Kong and Rotterdam, the book links knowledge and research in these cities.

Support from the C40 Global Cities Network and the Connecting Delta Cities initiative

The initiative for the book was supported by the C40 Global Cities Network (see and the underlying Connecting Delta Cities initiative (see In October 2008, a C40 meeting in Tokyo on the topic of climate adaptation officially adopted the Connecting Delta Cities initiative (CDC) put forward by the city of Rotterdam. It was addressed as Joint Action 8: Climate Adaptation Connecting Delta Cities. The C40 agreed that the network should (initially) consist of a small number of cities that are front-runners in climate adaptation, with the objective of exchanging knowledge on climate adaptation and sharing best practices. Together with C40, we continue to work on connecting global cities in order to support developing climate adaptation strategies. For this, the Connecting Delta Cities initiative serves as a platform for sharing (novel) experiences and making these available to professionals in the public and private sectors.

Further information on the book, as well as details on how to order it, can be found on the Routledge website:

Full reference:

Aerts, J., Botzen, W., Bowman, M., Ward, P.J., Dircke, P., 2011. Climate adaptation and flood risk in coastal cities. Earthscan, Oxford, UK, 330pp.


Jeroen Aerts (

Wouter Botzen (

Philip Ward (

boek groot