Bridging the floods - The role of social learning for resilience building in urban water services

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)


The development of cities is increasingly threatened by a worldwide water crisis. Urban water services (including drinking water, sanitation and drainage) are facing complex and multiple pressures, which are becoming increasingly frequent and severe. These pressures include floods, and the depletion, pollution and degradation of water resources and their associated ecosystems. These diverse pressures fall mainly within the domains of flood risk and water resources management: two working fields that are divided by different institutional structures, approaches and practices. Social learning is becoming increasingly popular as an approach that has the potential to “bridge” these silos, and ultimately, contribute to building resilience in urban water services. However, empirical analyses on this issue are rare and fragmented. Against this background, this thesis investigates the role of social learning for resilience building in urban water services. It is based on single and multiple case studies from the urban areas of Cali (Colombia), Cebu (The Philippines), Durban (South Africa), Gorakhpur (India) and Kristianstad (Sweden). The results identify challenges to the integration of the identified silos, what resilience means for urban water services, and the key elements of social learning that can support or inhibit urban water resilience. The results provide important input for new theory, policy and practice related to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and national policies on sustainable water management, risk reduction and climate change adaptation.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
  • Climate Research


  • urban water services, climate change, adaptation, urban transformation, transition, flood risk management, water resources management, disaster risk reduction, resilience, resilient cities
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2017 Sep 8
Place of PublicationLund
EditionReport 1003, ISRN: LUTVDG/TVRH – 1003 – SE
  • Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety, Faculty of Engineering, Lund University
Print ISBNs978-91-7753-351-1
Electronic ISBNs978-91-7753-352-8
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2017-09-08 Time: 09:00 Place: Lecture hall V:D, V-huset, John Ericssons väg 1, Lund University, Faculty of Engineering. External reviewer(s) Name: Andradottir, Hrund O. Title: Professor Affiliation: University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland ---

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