Coproducing flood risk management through citizen involvement : insights from cross-country comparison in Europe
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
Ecology and Society
, p. 1-14
University of Antwerp
Across Europe, citizens are increasingly expected to participate in the implementation of flood risk management (FRM), by engaging in voluntary-based activities to enhance preparedness, implementing property-level measures, and so forth. Although citizen participation in FRM decision making is widely addressed in academic literature, citizens involvement in the delivery of FRM measures is comparatively understudied. Drawing from public administration literature, we adopted the notion of coproduction as an analytical framework for studying the interaction between citizens and public authorities, from the decision-making process through to the implementation of FRM in practice. We considered to what extent coproduction is evident in selected European Union (EU) member states, drawing from research conducted within the EU project STAR-FLOOD (Strengthening and Redesigning European Flood Risk Practices towards Appropriate and Resilient Flood Risk Governance Arrangements). On the basis of a cross-country comparison between Flanders (Belgium), England (United Kingdom), France, the Netherlands, and Poland, we have highlighted the varied forms of coproduction and reflected on how these have been established within divergent settings. Coproduction is most prominent in discourse and practice in England and is emergent in France and Flanders. By contrast, FRM in the Netherlands and Poland remains almost exclusively reliant on governmental protection measures and thereby consultation-based forms of coproduction. Analysis revealed how these actions are motivated by different underlying rationales, which in turn shape the type of approaches and degree of institutionalization of coproduction. In the Netherlands, coproduction is primarily encouraged to increase societal resilience, whereas public authorities in the other countries also use it to improve cost-efficiency and redistribute responsibilities to its beneficiaries.