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Title: Development and assessment of adaptive urban flood risk infrastructure under conditions of deep uncertainty
Author: Babovic, Filip
ISNI:       0000 0004 7969 8930
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2019
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Globally, the risk associated with urban pluvial flooding is growing due to the confluence of climate change and urbanisation. The inherently complex nature of these processes makes it unclear what the impacts will be- including when and where they will happen, or to what degree. It is therefore said that adaptation to these risks occurs under conditions of deep uncer- tainty. Deep Uncertainty implies that methods which were historically effective at planning are no longer appropriate. Regardless new infrastructure must be built and existing infrastructure adapted. This thesis explores Decision Making under Deep Uncertainty and its implications for the sustainable long-term planning of drainage infrastructure. To address this issue, the effects of potential changes were explored through use of an Adaptation Tipping Points methodology. This methodology was highly modified to extend its applicability far beyond previous work. This method was applied to a case study which was modelled within Infoworks ICM, the drainage system was then stress tested against changes to the 30-year return period design storm. The effectiveness of 53 potential strategies to alleviate flooding by the potential changes were evaluated. Adaptation Pathways were generated, providing decision makers information regarding incre- mental adaptations for changes in the depth and intensity of the design storm. It is shown that the most effective Adaptation Pathway can vary significantly depending on which changes to the design storm take place. This is due to the non-linear interaction of multiple drainage processes and the importance of path dependence. This thesis developed a novel methodology to calculate the costs and benefits of a set of Adap- tation Pathways. This method builds upon real options to provide a cost-benefit analysis which encompassed both flood benefits and ecosystem services. Furthermore, the effect of uncertainty on financial performance was assessed. It is shown that the financial performance of pathways is highly influenced by the order in which solutions are implemented. However, very rarely does the uncertainty surrounding a project's financial viability obfuscate whether it will be a success or not. The final result was a set of fully costed Adaptation Pathways that decision makers could use to identify the best adaptation strategy.
Supervisor: Mijic, Ana ; Madani, Kaveh Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral