The transition to adaptive storm-water management: learning from existing experiences in Italy and Southern France

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Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) are solutions which use natural processes to manage storm-water. Having detected the inability of conventional storm-water management to cope alone with e.g. urban flooding, the incorporation of SuDS in action plans can enable a shift towards a more sustainable handling of storm-water. The principles underlying adaptive storm-water management can potentially be realised through the implementation of SuDS. However, the SuDS concept remains undeveloped and poorly researched in Mediterranean countries. This paper explores the extent to which SuDS have been used to manage floods in Italy and Southern France. Examples of SuDS are identified through a review of grey literature and then analysed by a set of socio-technical criteria that evaluate the adoption of the principles of adaptive storm-water management. Findings show an ongoing transition towards an adaptive approach, although mature adaptive storm-water management has been neither supported in policy nor realised in practice. SuDS are fostered in both countries but while a recent increase in their adoption can be observed in Southern France, their implementation is more limited in Italy. However, a conservative and technically focused policy and implementation process has been promoted. Governance practices have, for instance, undergone almost no change.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102061
JournalSustainable Cities and Society
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2020


  • Wasserressourcen
  • Stadtentwicklung
  • Stadtökologie
  • Stadtklima
  • Nachhaltigkeit
  • Review of case studies
  • Adaptive storm-water management
  • Italy
  • Southern France
  • Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS)

Fields of Science and Technology Classification 2012

  • 105 Geosciences

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