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Measure Your Community Flood Resilience

'If you can't measure it, you can't improve it.' Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics is working with the local authorities in the UK to measure their community flood resilience through an innovative participatory approach. The researchers analyse the measurement results with local stakeholders to identify resilience gaps and formulate priorities for individual and community actions towards building flood resilience.

People gather at the Lowestoft flood resilience workshop

The town of Lowestoft on the East Coast of England is suffering from flooding and coastal erosion, which is expected to get worse due to climate change. In response, the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics together with the East Suffolk Council and Coastal Partnership East is applying a new participatory approach to assess Lowestoft's resilience to flooding and to develop innovative activities to reduce future flood risks.

The collaboration combines research and engagement, based on the Flood Resilience Measurement Tool for Communities (FRMC), a comprehensive framework for measuring community flood resilience, developed by the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance. The FRMC has been applied in about 300 communities across the world since 2015. The researchers help local partners to identify different drivers of resilience by applying social science methods such as mind-mapping and quantitative data collections. This enables the community to assess various aspects of resilience including social, human, ecological, physical, and financial capacities. The measurement process is supported by a web-based tool and an app for mobile devices that allow for smooth and rigorous data collection and analysis.

The researchers analyse the data with local stakeholders to identify resilience gaps and formulate priorities for individual and community action. LSE is leading the implementation of FRMC in the UK. The research supporting the pilot in Lowestoft has already impacted flood resilience decision making: the local authority has allocated internal funds to flood resilience and hired a new member of staff to implement priority actions, several community engagement activities took place to raise flood awareness, and the FRMC application has provided evidence and insight for a successful grant allocation from the Government to help the local authorities develop resilience pathways along the East Coast of England.

The tool is available free of charge and the Alliance offers support in implementation and analysis, helping local authorities move away from 'off the shelf' solutions. The participatory approach also ensures that the community's priorities and perspectives are included in the process of decision-making. Further rollouts are currently explored in other east coast areas including Great Yarmouth in the UK.

Entrant: Sara Mehryar , The Grantham Research Institute, London School of Economics

Copyright: Paul Nichols, Sara Mehryar, Leonor Oom - Unsplash

Funding: Z Zurich Foundation, Switzerland; Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment and the ESRC via the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy under Grant number: ES/R009708/1.

Collaborators: Swenja Surminksi and Viktor Roezer (Grantham Research Institute, London School of Economics); Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance; East Suffolk Council.