Re-naturing cities: reducing flood risk through nature-based solutions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


such as increased frequency, severity and duration of extreme weather events in the forms of wildfires and hurricanes, to localised events in the forms of riverine flooding and coastal storm surges, different disciplinary professionals all recognise that adaptation to a warming planet needs urgent attention and action. Focusing on just one aspect of climate change adaptation, flood risk management, this article will examine how emerging scholarship around ‘Renaturing cities’ could support societal transformation in the face of uncertain futures. The first section of the paper will explore the concept of ‘flood risk management’ (FRM) from its emergence from, and beyond, flood prevention strategy principles, to examine the reasons why FRM’s current approach only goes so far in supporting adaptation strategies. The second section of the article will explore the rationale behind ‘Renaturing cities’, particularly in light of global urbanisation, to interrogate how using Green Infrastructure (GI) and Nature Based Solutions (NBS) can enrich the current FRM discourse’s ‘toolbox’ to help reduce flood risk – both for city dwellers and those living and working in surrounding peri-urban and hinterland environments. Using case study examples of different ‘Renaturing cities’ strategies from around the world which directly address flood risk, from arboreal avenues, pocket parks and Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems ( SUDS) to reconstructed urban wetlands, the article will conclude with a short reflection on how feasible, equitable and sustainable this ‘renaturing cities’ approach might be for our current and future global citizens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-109
Number of pages4
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • flood risk management
  • nature based solutions
  • re-naturing cities
  • green infrastructure
  • climate change


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