Stakeholder participation in urban flood management: reducing risk and increasing adaptive capacity in Seoul, South Korea

Authors: Bokjin Roh*, University of Arizona
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Hazards and Vulnerability, Urban Geography
Keywords: Extreme climate events, Natural hazards, Disaster risk, Stakeholder engagement, Risk governance
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Napoleon A3, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Extreme hydrometeorological events like torrential rainfall raise flood risks in cities. Seoul, South Korea, faces ongoing flood risk due to summer rainfall, urbanization, and lack of communication between multiple actors of risk governance. Although attention to structural and non-structural measures has increased, actors involved in flood risk management - government officials, researchers, and local stakeholders – still view flood risk through structural measures, a narrow lens of exposure to climate and weather. Flood risk viewed via social contexts, which I relate to sensitivity and adaptive capacity, are limited due to lack of familiarity with participation in collaborative decision-making and institutional structure to encourage participation. Nevertheless, some local stakeholders represent a powerful force for participation in non-structural measures by bringing elements of socio-economic, institutional, political, physical, and cultural contexts associated with risk management. By examining flood sensitivity and adaptive capacity components, this research illustrates multiple aspects of flood vulnerability in Seoul and the role of neighborhood representatives to mitigate risk. Results show that Seoul has a high capacity of managing extreme climate events like floods through community leadership. Although neighborhood-level actions still lack, neighborhood representatives can facilitate change to build higher adaptive capacity in the city. This study suggests that improved collaboration of neighborhood representatives with government and researchers can improve risk communication and coordination. It also proposes that addressing this issue through engagement in international discourses, like the Sustainable Development Goals, will improve efficiencies through combinations of structural and non-structural measures to reduce risk of extreme climate events like floods

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