Along with windstorms, floods are the most common and widespread of all natural disasters. Although they can often be predicted, they cause loss of life, damage and destruction, as many urban communities are located near coasts and rivers. In terms of victims, floods are responsible for more than half the deaths caused by natural catastrophes. As flood events appear to be rapidly increasing world-wide, an advanced and universal approach to urban flooding and how to manage will help reduce flood impact.

    This textbook integrates expertise from disciplines such as hydrology, sociology, architecture, urban design, construction and water resources engineering. The subject is approached from an international perspective and case studies, exercises, expert advice and literature recommendations are included to support the theory and illustrations.

    Developed by a team of specialists, this volume is intended for urban flood management education of hydrology, geography, civil and environmental engineering, and management students at university level. Moreover, professionals will find this book useful as a reference. More information on flood resilience and urban flood management can be found at

    For a preview, please go to


    1 Setting the stage for Integrated Urban Flood Management

    1.1 Why are cities special cases?
    1.2 The city as a living organism
    1.3 Vulnerability of urban areas: a rough guide
    1.4 Dealing with uncertainty
    1.5 Adoption of a system approach

    2 Urban floods
    2.1 The influence of climate and other factors
    2.2 Types of flooding
    2.3 Pitfalls in using the historical record


    3 Urbanisation
    3.1 Principles of land-use planning
    3.2 Urban typologies: from central square to edge city
    3.3 Growing and shrinking: density issues induced by globalisation
    3.4 Megacities in the delta

    4 Climate change: key uncertainties and robust findings
    4.1 A review of the past
    4.2 Signs of change
    4.3 Expected consequences


    5 Hydrology of cities
    5.1 The hydrological cycle
    5.2 Land use and runoff
    5.3 Modelling surface runoff
    5.4 Modelling pluvial flooding
    5.5 Modelling coastal flooding

    6 Urban flood-risk assessment
    6.1 Introduction to the theory of risk
    6.2 Quantifying flood probability
    6.3 Tangible and intangible damages
    6.4 Loss of life estimation in flood-risk assessment
    6.5 Cross-scale factors and indirect damages
    6.6 Flood-risk mapping


    7 Responding to flood risk
    7.1 Responses
    7.2 Performance standards and expectations
    7.3 Resilience, vulnerability, robustness and sustainability
    7.4 Precautionary and adaptive responses
    7.5 Confronting flood management with land-use planning: lessons learnt
    7.6 Building types, infrastructure and public open spaces

    8 Urban drainage systems
    8.1 A historical perspective
    8.2 Major and minor flows
    8.3 SUDS/LIDS
    8.4 Practices in water sensitive urban design

    9 Flood proofing the urban fabric
    9.1 Managing flooding through site design: basic principles
    9.2 Managing flooding through detailed design (individual
    9.3 Flood resilient repair and retrofitting
    9.4 Urban flood defences and barriers

    10 Enhancing coping and recovery capacity
    10.1 Flood forecasting warning and response
    10.2 Emergency planning, management and evacuation
    10.3 Compensation and flood insurance


    11 Managing for resiliency
    11.1 Asset management, some basic principles
    11.2 Assessing resilience in flood-risk management
    11.3 Transitioning from entrapment to resilience approaches

    12 Capacity building and governance
    12.1 Risk perception, acceptance and communication
    12.2 Adaptive capacity
    12.3 Characteristics of effective learning initiatives

    13 Shelter for all
    13.1 What does the future hold?
    13.2 Turning ideas into action
    13.3 Success stories: seizing windows of opportunity

    References; Glossary; Abbreviations; Subject Index


    Chris Zevenbergen is Professor of Flood Resilience of Urban Sytems at UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in Delft, Director of the Flood Resilient Group in collaboration with Delft University of Technology and Managing Director of Business Development at DuraVermeer Group, The Netherlands. Dr. Zevebergen has Masters degree in Ecology from the Agricultural University Wageningen and a Doctorate in Environmental Engineering from the University Utrecht. He worked as a researcher on various environmental issues related to the building industry, such as environmental impact assessments, product development, emission modelling, testing procedures, building codes and guidelines in the 1980s followed by 10 years research and consultancy in environmental engineering and water management. He has a strong affinity with the ecological, socio-economic, institutional aspects of urban planning and water management. He is member of the board of the Dutch Living with Water programme and the Netherlands Water Partnership, member of the Japanese-Dutch platform on Water Management and chairman of the EU COST action C22 on Urban Flood Management. He holds several patents in the field of environmental engineering and delta-technology. On these research topics he has published about 40 articles and edited 3 books.

    "… useful textbook for both students and teachers, encompassing an introduction to the topic before touching upon a number of drivers and solutions of urban flood risk in a slightly more advanced manner. ... This book lends a welcome clarity to a complex, evolving and contemporary subject—and one which will grow in importance throughout the twenty first century."
    Dr Iain White, University of Manchester