Flood resilience: a systematic review

Kerri McClymont*, David Morrison, Lindsay Beevers, Esther Carmen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

115 Citations (Scopus)
287 Downloads (Pure)


Hydro-hazards are increasing in frequency due to climate change which has inspired a cultural change in Flood Risk Management (FRM). Uncertainty associated with climate change has resulted in a shift towards flood resilience as it helps deal with unexpected climatic perturbations that impact extreme flows. The concept of resilience has increased in popularity, leading to a multitude of definitions, measurements and applications. This paper systematically reviews the FRM literature to provide clarity on the differing perspectives of resilience and how they influence successful implementation of the concept. Our analysis assesses where FRM is positioned within three pre-defined interdisciplinary understandings of resilience. The polysemic nature of resilience has produced a multitude of different perspectives that prevent successful operationalisation. Resilience is interdisciplinary; therefore it requires integration between top-down and bottom-up FRM approaches, as well as a more holistic approach to the interdependence between temporal and spatial scales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1151-1176
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Issue number7
Early online date30 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2020


  • flood risk management
  • resilience
  • systems approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Water Science and Technology
  • General Environmental Science
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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