Arguments for a Co-production Approach to Community Flood Protection

Fitton, Sarah L. and Moncaster, Alice M. (2019). Arguments for a Co-production Approach to Community Flood Protection. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Engineering Sustainability, 172(7) pp. 335–344.



With more intense rainfall and sea level rises predicted, an increasing number of people across the UK are vulnerable to flood events. The government has pledged more funding for flood infrastructure planning, design and management. However, schemes tend to focus on technical solutions, with the social impact, including needs and concerns of the local community, seen as secondary. Based on a detailed examination of three case studies in England, this paper identifies the mechanisms through which current processes restrict industry professionals from considering and incorporating the social perspective, often despite seemingly effective community engagement. The paper argues for an approach that incorporates social concerns alongside technical ones. Rather than ‘community engagement’, it is argued that ‘co-production’, in which lay communities work alongside technical experts in the design of flood risk alleviation schemes, would enable a final outcome that is both more socially acceptable and more technically successful.

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