Project description


Losses from extreme hydrological events, such as recently experienced in Europe have focused the attention of policymakers as well as researchers on vulnerability to natural hazards. In parallel, the context of changing flood risks under climate and societal change is driving transformation in the role of the state in responsibility sharing and individual responsibilities for risk management and precaution. The new policy agenda enhances the responsibilities of local authorities and private citizens in hazard management and reduces the role of central governments. Within the objective is to place added responsibility on local organisations and citizens to determine locally-based strategies for risk reduction.


BottomUp:Floods focuses on bottom-up initiatives to flood risk management which are, by definition, different from the mainstream. These initiatives are often pursued by local actors and stakeholders, not with the aim of contributing to broader societal transformation but to address local problems or to seize local opportunities.


2 case studies: City of Lienz and Heinfels (Province of the Tyrol)

BottomUp:Floods will contribute to resilience building at the local level in the City of Lienz and Heinfels in particular. The two case studies were chosen as study sites because of the risk-prone due to its topography and high accumulation of assets which is likely to be affected by climate change. Further, the City of Lienz is representative of the Province and unifies a number of sectors and hazard types. Both study sites are already active in iterative risk management and resilience building and possesses high risk awareness.




The project aims to analyse bottom-up adaptation initiatives in flood risk management with respect to social transformation in communities exposed to flood hazards in Austria. The overall goals are:

  • the identification of indicators and parameters necessary for strategies to increase societal resilience,
  • an analysis of the institutional settings needed for societal transformation, and
  • perspectives of changing divisions of responsibilities between public and private actors.



At the beginning of the project a survey on international experiences and promising approaches in connection with interviews with best practice examples will be conducted. The objective of this step is to identify the specific framings of actor-specific responsibility and efficacy in selected best case examples. Accordingly strategies for bottom-up community actions in flood risk adaptation management will be developed with local stakeholders in Lienz and Heinfels. This will be supported by formative scenario workshop approaches. In a next step the willingness and motivation of citizens to engage in bottom-up climate change adaptation will be assessed in a quantitative survey in the selected pilot case studies. At the end, these three results will be synthesised with a particular focus on extrapolation to other areas in Austria and Europe. The key objective is to develop, validate and publish a methodological practitioner’s guidebook.