Flood protection beyond protection against floods: how to make sense of controversies related to the building and maintenance of dikes in Denmark

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    As a result of still more flood events in Denmark in the last few years, flood protection has received growing attention in many local communities. By law, in Denmark, protecting your property from flooding from the sea is a private responsibility. This obliges communities to debate their own flood risk and their ability and options to fund additional protection. However, creating and maintaining flood protection are challenging. The related negotiations frequently develop into conflicts, which prolong the processes. This research concludes that the main challenges are not the technical issues, but the planning and negotiation between different interests. The paper presents the results of four qualitative case studies of existing dikes and dike projects in Denmark. By applying a situated analysis, the controversies in each case have been unravelled, with the aim of understanding the deeper reasons behind them. The paper concludes that the controversies often revolve around broader issues in the local communities such as liveability and population decline, but also feed on less visible aspects to do with people’s long- and short-term experience of living and moving around in their local landscape. The results of the paper underline the need to move beyond risk assessments and meteorological calculations when flood risk protection projects are planned and managed. Other issues have to be included if conflicts are to be minimised and better solutions found.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalNatural Hazards
    Pages (from-to)967-984
    Number of pages18
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

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