Land policy tools in flood risk governance: The differentiated experiences arising from the basins of the Rivers Evros (Greece) and Scheldt (Belgium)

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Land policy as an all-encompassing practice has been providing a wide variety of instruments to proactively and reactively deal with disasters and promote resilient territories. Historical experiences related to periods of post disaster recovery (the rebuilding of cities after World War II, earthquakes, fires, floods) have revealed the importance of the land policy system as well as the institutional structures that in combination to planning policy determine the efficacy of the safety environment of the affected areas. The operation of expropriation and compensation mechanisms, land re-allocation provisions, land amalgamation and readjustment and the redistribution of land development rights have proved to be highly critical in disaster management cycle, and principally, during the recovery-reconstruction and the prevention-mitigation phases. What has to be underlined in this respect is the way the aforementioned tools and mechanisms have developed historically under accentuated demands posed by crisis or disaster conditions and are implemented in different institutional vis a vis spatial planning contexts aiming to fostering resilient communities. Set in this context, the aim of this presentation is to examine the effectiveness of land policy in two distinct settings of flood risk management: the Evros River Basin in Greece and the Scheldt River in Belgium. This comparative approach allows to identifying the different obstacles and potentials that could contribute to the formation of an integrated land and safety-resilience strategy.
land policy, flood risk management, property rights, risk governance