The Urban Systems Abstraction Hierarchy : a resilience tool to capture cascading flood exposure
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Floods are increasing in both frequency and intensity under climate change. Research has shown that people who are socially vulnerable are more exposed to flood risk. Worse is that flood disadvantage that exists today is projected to continue in the future: it is stubborn. Current approaches are not working sufficiently well to unblock this stubborn disadvantage. Something new is required. A fresh perspective to flood exposure is offered in this thesis. Flood exposure is nested within the wider urban environment through the development of a systems tool – the Urban Systems Abstraction Hierarchy – to quantify how tangible flood exposure cascades through complex system interactions to impact longer-term resilient outcomes. Resilience concepts are applied to navigate the tool and interpret its quantitative results. The thesis provides a theoretical contribution to understanding how flood resilience concepts are currently perceived and applied within flood risk management. It provides a methodological contribution to capture these new resilience insights in a tool. It provides a practical contribution by identifying the interactions which can help cities withstand, absorb or adapt to flood exposure, enabling transformative resilience strategies.