The response to climate change in cities across the world should not be a “one size fits all” approach, according to Mott McDonald’s global head of climate resistance Ian Allison.
Speaking at the New Civil Engineer Flood Management Forum about how cities can survive the effects of climate change, Allison stressed that industry must “look at climate action in terms of the country we are dealing with,” citing the contrast in fatalities between Carlisle in the UK and Chennai in India when comparing similar amounts of rainfall.
He went on to discuss the risk of investing in flood protection over recovery measures, warning that a feeling of safety and complacency among citizens in cities with good flood protection could lead to less momentum for investment in recovery systems.
“We need to be designing our infrastructure for recovery…we are essentially designing for failure,” he said.
Allison also highlighted the risk of a cascade effect when floods hit areas with integrated services, describing how a failure in one sector – for example, a power failure – could have a ripple effect across all services.
“We have got this interconnectivity and it’s creating vulnerability,” he said.