Environmental Risks in Urban and Regional Development—Assessing the Effects of Flood Resilient Technologies
Flood resilience strategies that seek to mitigate the vulnerability of receptors exposed to flooding are becoming an increasingly important issue in flood risk management in Europe. Significant receptors within flood-prone built-up areas are, amongst others, buildings with their many constructive forms. Building vulnerability thus has a strong effect on economic losses. Key criteria for the implementation of Flood Resilience Technologies (FReT) are their potential to improve the resilience of building types. For this purpose, detailed knowledge about the effects of FReT in terms of vulnerability mitigation is indispensable. Within the EU-research project “Smart Resilience Technology, Systems and Tools” (SMARTeST), innovative and smart flood resilience technologies have been identified and tested by experimental studies with regard to their reliability and level of performance. To analyse the flood vulnerability of built-up areas and to assess the impacts of FReT on damage reduction, the paper presents a methodology that uses a synthetic approach to the calculation of flood damage. As a result of this engineering approach, specific depth-damage functions can be derived synthetically for building types to describe the degree of damage at varying water levels. Research findings in European case studies have proven that the structural design and the building fabric have considerable impacts on the flood vulnerability of building types. In this way the effects of different FReT can be analysed and compared ex ante based on detailed estimates of damage costs. A number of synthetic depth-damage functions have been implemented in the GIS-based flood damage simulation model HOWAD. This expert tool spatially interlinks hydraulic modelling results with detailed information on the physical vulnerability of buildings; it then calculates the damage for each building with its site-specific water level, taking account of the impacts of implemented FReT. The calculated damage costs at object-level can be aggregated for different areas of interest. High-resolution modelling is a prerequisite for cost-benefit analyses of measures and also supports decision-makers in finding cost-effective technologies and appropriate technology combinations to improve the resilience of buildings. This model has already been applied in European case studies in Germany, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom and Spain, taking account of the various national and local contexts as well as different flood types.
KeywordsFlood damage assessment Flood vulnerability Flood risk Flood resilience technology Vulnerability mitigation Flood damage modelling Flood-resilience technologies Synthetic depth-damage functions
The work was undertaken as part of the SMARTeST project that looked at innovative technologies, systems and tools to increase resilience to flood events. We thank all partners who contributed to the research and to those who formed an important part through their involvement in the National Support Groups. SMARTeST was funded by the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement no.°8244102.
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