The territory of the Valley of the Oise is exposed to the risk of flooding from overflowing rivers. To deal with this risk, the French government has established policies to reduce damage in the present and the future. In partnership with devolved state services and local authorities, the Urban Planning Agency has focused much of its activity on this issue. Our work includes the production of risk maps and resilient development studies and the Agency is seen as an expert in France on mapping, modelling and flood resilience.
In this pilot, the Oise Valley Urban Planning Agency is analysing the risk of flooding in areas undergoing urban development with a focus on utility distribution systems (e.g. gas, power grid, drinking water and sewage systems) and adaptation measures that will decrease their risk from flooding. Adapting the distribution system is crucial to ensuring the resilience of the valley in the long term. The Agency has analysed resilience at three different levels:
- on a ‘small’ scale in terms of buildings and the urban environment
- on a ‘large’ scale by assessing the vulnerability of roads and utilities
- ‘multiscalar’ approaches to ensure coherence of interventions at the level of the entire drainage basin, and to foster solidarity between higher and lower zones.
The study highlighted the importance of specific regional factors when building resilience; for example, buildings where architectural solutions can be most effectively applied without major difficulties. However, interventions at the individual building/plot level are limited as responses to systemic, regional vulnerabilities: the block (or neighbourhood) scale seems more appropriate in terms of policy focus. At this level, it is possible to develop synergies between built units and thus enhance the resilience of the wider block or neighbourhood, adapting to climate risks across scales.
The analysis made clear that practical solutions to develop novel forms of urban resilience emerge through dialogue and cooperation. Through the Interreg STAR2Cs program, the Agency has taken a first step in an extended, valley-wide consultation. Through analysis of transport, utilities and infrastructure networks, the Agency has produced a series of vulnerability maps. The results will be debated with other stakeholders to achieve a shared knowledge of vulnerabilities with the aim of raising awareness of common weaknesses, developing a collective memory of past flooding, and sharing tools designed for regional resilience.
For more information on the Oise Valley Urban Planning Agency’s work on adaptation planning and to see the vulnerability maps in more detail, visit oiselavallee.org.