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Placing flood risk management at the heart of urban planning

OU researchers are part of a £3 million project to put flood risk management at the heart of urban planning.

The aim of this project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), is to conduct research necessary to make urban flood resilience achievable nationally. It will also focus on solutions for better water management by seeing all forms of water as having multiple benefits.

The project is led by the University of Nottingham; the OU is one of the academic partners along with Heriot Watt University, University of Essex, Newcastle University, University of Cambridge, De Montfort University, University of Leeds and the University of the West of England.

Dr Karen Potter and Dr Tudorel Vilcan from the OU’s Citizenship and Governance strategic research area, are leading on the understanding of the planning and development context within Work Package 5,working with multi-agency alliances in Newcastle and Ebbsfleet to reduce the risks of urban flooding to individuals, communities, businesses, property, infrastructure, commerce and the environment in cities.

The project, which began in October 2016 will run for three years and results will be published in in peer reviewed journals, such as the Journal of Flood Risk Management, Environmental Science and Policy, and ICE Water Management as they emerge.

Dr Karen Potter said: “We respect the EPSRC’s dedication to interdisciplinary research. Working closely with engineers, hydrologists and physical geographers is increasing our understanding of flood resilience design and delivery, equally, our research on water governance and planning at the OU will enable our consortium to take into account the bigger socio-political picture. The project’s potential power and impact will result from addressing both social and technical complexities together towards the project’s aim of transformative change in urban flood risk and water management across the UK.”

Read more about the urban flood resilience project.

Read more about OU Citizenship and Governance research.

Dr Karen Potter

Research Fellow (Collaborative Governance)

Department for Public Leadership and Social Enterprise

The Faculty of Business and Law

Professional biography


Mr Tudorel Vilcan

Research Associate, Future Urban Flood Risk Management

Department for Public Leadership and Social Enterprise

The Faculty of Business and Law

Professional biography