Strengthening opportunities to integrate informal resilience practices in formal flood resilience planning

Virginia G. Silvis, Courtney M. Cooper, Lisa D. Iulo, Robert Eugene Nicholas, Lara B. Fowler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


People respond to climate change and associated risks based on scientific knowledge, lived experiences, worldviews, values, and social relations. People living in flood-prone areas may develop protective practices to mitigate risk. Formal flood resilience goals, such as relocating people from floodplain areas, need to align with local flood protection goals. People often choose to live in flood-prone areas despite the risk because of perceived aesthetic, social, or economic benefits. For flood-risk policy, reducing flood risk generally means implementing policies that aim to reduce overall exposure to flooding. When people acknowledge and manage risk because of a desire to live in a place, exposure-reducing policies may be met with resistance. In this case study analysis, we explore perspectives about flood resilience at different scales to better understand flood risk resilience. Our analysis of flood resilience draws from a framework for considering community resilience to natural disasters and observations made during a multi-year flood resilience co-production initiative with Selinsgrove Borough, Pennsylvania, a small riverine community. Many residents in the study area have developed resilience practices based on their flood experiences over generations. Flood resilience plans may better serve local realities if they provide sufficient flexibility to integrate residents’ resilience practices and knowledge. Local officials need guidance integrating these practices into their formal responsibilities, including developing and implementing flood-risk management plans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104490
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
StatePublished - Jun 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Safety Research
  • Geology

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