Can a flood label better protect people from climate change?

(20-08-2021) Floods are among the most common and costly natural disasters in Europe. Influenced by climate change and intensive urbanization, floods are likely to occur more frequently in the near future, causing more damage.

In recent years, therefore, flood management has shifted to flood risk governance. Governments can no longer fully protect cities and are looking for new allies. For example, homeowners can also take measures to minimize the effects of flooding on their homes.

In order to better inform homeowners about protection measures and to motivate them to take these measures, Peter Davids' doctoral study investigates whether flood risk management could benefit from the introduction of a flood label for houses.

"Such a label would then state what risks there are for a particular house and what measures you can take as an owner to reduce the risks. Such a flood label could help change the behavior of homeowners," explains Peter Davids.

His research shows that the effectiveness of a label depends on environmental factors, and that a label can indeed engage homeowners in flood risk governance, provided that new parties, such as municipalities and insurers, are also actively involved and adjust their usual roles.

"Such a flood label is not a tool to shift responsibility to citizens, but it can be a tool to mediate between the responsibilities of the different parties involved," concludes Peter Davids.


PhD Title: Rethinking Floodlabel: A Situational Approach to Homeowner Involvement in Flood Risk Management


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Editor: Jeroen Ongenae - Final editing: Ilse Vercruysse - Illustrator: Roger Van Hecke