Compounding focusing events as windows of opportunity for flood management policy transitions in Singapore

Urban floods are the result of natural and man-made events, with their economic, social, and environmental impacts reflecting policy and political decisions taken at different times in the history of cities. In this paper, we discuss flood events in Singapore over 2010 and 2011 specifically in the Orchard Road area, one of the traditionally most important retail and touristic areas in the city-state, as the compounding focusing events that opened a window of opportunity for national flood management policy transitions. Using qualitative case study analysis and topic modelling, we evaluate the multi-pronged plans and measures taken by the government to strengthen Singapore’s flood resilience, and the lessons learned that were born out of these events. We conclude the Orchard Road floods served as a focusing event that directed and raised the attention to the limitations of flood management in Singapore and reaffirmed the importance of adaptive management in policy making.

By Cecilia Tortajada, Rachel Koh, Ishaan Bindal and Wee-Kiat Lim, 2021. Article published in Journal of Hydrology, Volume 599, 126345. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2021.126345

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